Nichols’ son, Kyle Johnson, shared a statement via his mom’s website on July 31 that read: “Last night, my mother, Nichelle Nichols, succumbed to natural causes and passed away. Her light, however, like the ancient galaxies now being seen for the first time, will remain for us and future generations to enjoy, learn from, and draw inspiration. Hers was a life well lived and as such a model for us all.”
Nichols died of natural causes. She was 89.
Following the news, tributes from Hollywood celebs including the actor’s Star Trek co-stars have poured in. Here’s more on that and which cast members of Star Trek: The Original Series are still alive today.
William Shatner had the memorable role of Captain James T. Kirk in the original series which ran for three seasons from 1966 to 1969. He also voiced the character for Star Trek: The Animated Series and appeared in the first seven Star Trek movies. He continued acting on the big and small screen over the years and has more than 200 acting credits to his name.
Shatner paid tribute to Nichols on Twitter writing: “I am so sorry to hear about the passing of Nichelle. She was a beautiful woman & played an admirable character that did so much for redefining social issues both here in the US & throughout the world. I will certainly miss her. Sending my love and condolences to her family.”
George Takei portrayed the character Hikaru Sulu in 51 of the 79 Star Trek: The Original Series episodes. He then lent his voice to Star Trek: The Animated Series from 1973 to 1974 and was featured in the first six films. Aside from Star Trek, Takei has had many other acting and voice-acting gigs throughout his career.
He is very active on social media and upon hearing about Nichols’ death reacted by tweeting a picture of them together and writing: “I shall have more to say about the trailblazing, incomparable Nichelle Nichols, who shared the bridge with us as Lt. Uhura of the USS Enterprise, and who passed today at age 89. For today, my heart is heavy, my eyes shining like the stars you now rest among, my dearest friend.”
He added: “We lived long and prospered together.”
Walter Koenig played Pavel Chekov in the original TV series from 1967 to 1969 and reprised his role in all six original-cast Star Trek movies. He later became known for writing films such as Land of the Lost, Family, and The Powers of Matthew Star.
As for some of the original series’ other main cast members Leonard Nimoy, who played Mr. Spock from the inception of the TV show up until his last performance in 2013, died on Feb. 27, 2015, due to complications of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. And James Doohan, who portrayed Montgomery “Scotty” Scott in the television and film series, died on July 20, 2005, due to complications from pneumonia and Alzheimer’s Disease.