Nichelle Nichols portrays the communications officer Lt. Uhura.She was born in Robbins, Illinois near Chicago, and her father was both the town mayor of Robbins and its chief magistrate. She has studied in Chicago as well as New York and Los Angeles. In New York, she appeared at the famous Blue Angel and Playboy Clubs as a singer. She also appeared in the role of Carmen for a Chicago stock company production of "Carmen Jones".
She has twice been nominated for the Sara Siddon Award as best actress and is an accomplished dancer and singer. Her first Siddon nomination was for her portrayal of Hazel Sharp in "Kicks and Co.," and the second performance in "The Blacks".
Nichelle toured the U.S., Canada and Europe as a singer with the Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton bands. On the west coast, she appeared in "Roar of the Grease Pain", "Smell of the Crowd", "For My People" and garnered high praise for her performance in the James Baldwin play, "Blues for Mr. Charlie".
Prior to being cast as Lt. Uhura, she appeared in "The Lieutenant", which was created by "Star Trek's" creator Gene Roddenberry. Her co-stars, Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner would also appear on that show before being cast in the legendary show. Nichelle considered leaving "Star Trek" at the end of the first season because she was unhappy with her character, but after she met Martin Luther King, she decided to stay as the character touched King's family. She was a role model for young black woman in America. She thus followed King's advised and stayed right up til the end for the show's final film, "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country".
After "Star Trek's" cancellation in '69, Nichelle appeared in films like "Mister Buddwing", "Made In Paris", "Porgy and Bess" and "Doctor, You've Got To Be Kidding".
Turning her sights to music, Nichelle released a single, "Shoop Shoop" for 20th Century Records and often sang at her convention appearances. She has also released an album, "Dark Side Of The Moon", which includes a song she wrote in tribute to Gene Roddenberry, "Gene". Nichelle also sang the song at Roddenberry's memorial service.
Always interested in space travel, Nichelle flew aboard the C-141 Astronomy Observatory, which analysed the atmosphere of Mars and Saturn, on an eight hour, high altitude mission. She was also special guest at the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena on July 17, 1976 to view the Viking probe's soft landing on Mars. Along with the other cast members from the original "Star Trek", Nichelle attended the christening of the first space shuttle, "Enterprise", at Cape Canaveral. Nichelle also spends much time recruiting minorites for NASA.
A few years ago, Nichelle toured in a one-woman play where she portrayed many famous black female singers of the 20th century. Some of her hobbies are oil painting, designing her own clothes, reading science fiction and sculpting. She has also acted as spokesperson for her favorite charity, "The Kwanzaa Foundation". Her biography, "Beyond Uhura", was published in 1994.