‘Star Trek’ star Nichelle Ni­chols, who played Uhura, re­cov­ers from a stroke

The China Post - - ARTS & LEISURE - BY FRA­ZIER MOORE

Nichelle Ni­chols, who played Lt. Ny­ota Uhura in the orig­i­nal “Star Trek” TV se­ries and in fol­low-up films, is re­cov­er­ing from a stroke suf­fered Wed­nes­day at her Los An­ge­les home.

Tests in­di­cate the stroke was mild, her book­ing manager, Zach­ery McGin­nis, said Fri­day. He said the 82-year-old actress be­gan ther­apy Fri­day.

“She is awake, eat­ing, in good spir­its and able to have full con­ver­sa­tions,” McGin­nis said.

Ni­chols’ role on “Star Trek” earned her ac­co­lades for break­ing stereo­types for black ac­tresses, with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. per­son­ally en­cour­ag­ing her to stay with the se­ries. She met him at a civil rights gath­er­ing in 1967, at a point when she had de­cided not to re­turn for the show’s sec­ond sea­son.

“He said, ‘You can­not do that,”’ Ni­chols re­called. “You’ve changed the face of tele­vi­sion for­ever, and there­fore, you’ve changed the minds of peo­ple,” she said the civil rights leader told her.

Dur­ing the show’s third sea­son, her char­ac­ter and Wil­liam Shat­ner’s Capt. James Kirk shared what was de­scribed as the first in­ter­ra­cial kiss to be broad­cast on a U.S. tele­vi­sion se­ries. In the episode, their char­ac­ters, who had al­ways main­tained a pla­tonic re­la­tion­ship, were forced into the kiss by aliens who were con­trol­ling their ac­tions.

Ni­chols also ap­peared in six big-screen spin-offs of the se­ries start­ing in 1979 with “Star Trek: The Mo­tion Pic­ture.”

More re­cently, she had a re­cur­ring role on tele­vi­sion’s “He­roes,” play­ing the great-aunt of a young boy with mys­ti­cal pow­ers. Her act­ing ca­reer has con­tin­ued into the present day with roles in two up­com­ing films.

Leonard Ni­moy, a fel­low char­ter “Star Trek” cast mem­ber, died in Fe­bru­ary.

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