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General information  

  • Real name : Grace Nichols
  • Place of birth : Illinois
  • Date of birth : 28/12/1932

Alias  

  • Nichols Nichelle

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Nichelle Nichols (1932)

Grace Nichols

Type :  

  Summary  

Nichelle Nichols is an American actress, singer and voice artist. She sang with Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton before turning to acting. Her most famous role is that of communications officer Lieutenant Uhura aboard the USS Enterprise in the popular Star Trek television series, as well as the succeeding motion pictures, where her character was eventually promoted in Starfleet to the rank of commander.

  Biography  

 early life
Nichols was born in Robbins, Illinois, near Chicago, to Samuel Earl Nichols, a factory worker who was both the town mayor of Robbins and its chief magistrate, and his wife Lishia Nichols. Later, the family moved into an elegant apartment in Chicago.

She studied in Chicago as well as New York and Los Angeles. Her break came in an appearance in Kicks and Co., Oscar Brown, Jr.'s highly touted, but ill-fated musical. In the thinly veiled satire of Playboy magazine, she played Hazel Sharpe, a voluptuous campus queen who was being tempted by the devil and Orgy Magazine to become "Orgy Maiden of the Month." Although the play closed after its brief try-out in Chicago, in an ironic twist, she attracted the attention of Hugh Hefner, the publisher of Playboy, who was so impressed with her appearance that he booked her immediately at his Chicago Playboy Club. While still in Chicago, she performed at the "Blue Angel", and in New York, Nichols appeared at that city's "Blue Angel" as a dancer and singer. She also appeared in the role of Carmen for a Chicago stock company production of Carmen Jones and performed in a New York production of Porgy and Bess. Between acting and singing engagements, Nichols did occasional modeling work.

In January 1967, Nichols also was featured on the cover of Ebony magazine, and had two feature articles in the publication in five years.

Nichols toured the United States, Canada and Europe as a singer with the Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton bands. On the West Coast, she appeared in The Roar of the Greasepaint—the Smell of the Crowd, For My People, and garnered high praise for her performance in the James Baldwin play, Blues for Mister Charlie. Prior to being cast as Lieutenant Uhura in Star Trek, Nichols was a guest actress on television producer Gene Roddenberry's first series The Lieutenant.

 personal life
Nichols' brother, Thomas, was a member of the Heaven's Gate cult; he died on March 26, 1997, in their mass suicide. A member for 11 years, he left an exit video saying "I'm the happiest person in the world."

Nichols' son is actor Kyle Johnson, who played the lead in Gordon Parks's The Learning Tree. Kyle is her son from her marriage to Foster Johnson in 1951, which was the same year she divorced him. She married again in 1968, but that marriage also was short-lived and ended in divorce.

In her autobiography, Nichols stated that she was involved in an extramarital affair with Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry for several years in the 1960s. When Roddenberry's health was fading, Nichols co-wrote a song for him, titled Gene, that she performed at his funeral.

She is an honorary member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. Robert A. Heinlein in part dedicated his 1982 novel Friday to her. She now lives in Woodland Hills, California.
On June 8, 2010, Nichelle Nichols received an honorary degree from Los Angeles Mission College.

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  Sources

Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Nichelle Nichols", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.