Gabe Ginsberg/FilmMagicStar Trek star Nichelle Nichols, who portrayed communications officer Lt. Uhura on the original series and in six Star Trek films, has suffered a mild stroke.
According to her official Facebook page, Nichols, who’s 82, became ill Wednesday night at her home in L.A..
In an early statement to ABC News, her publicist says, “Nichelle Nichols is resting comfortably and undergoing tests. We do not have a prognosis yet but everyone’s prayers and well wishes are appreciated.”
A subsequent post on Nichols’ Facebook page Thursday evening declares the actress underwent a CAT scan and MRI. “The CAT scan came back negative and we are awaiting the results from the MRI,” the update reads. “Currently she is awake, eating, in good spirits and able to have full conversations. Her right side has shown minor signs of mobility loss but she is not showing any signs of paralyses. We greatly appreciate all of the love and support her fans are showing at this time.”
Nichols is also a singer who performed with Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton before she became an actor. Her Lt. Uhura was one of the first African-American female characters on TV who was not a servant. In fact, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. considered Nichols’ portrayal of Uhura to be so important that, when she wanted to leave the series after a year, he convinced her to remain, saying she was a vital role model for black children.
Mae Jemison, the former NASA astronaut, has said that Nichols’ portrayal of Uhura inspired her to go into the space program, while Whoopi Goldberg has also cited Nichols as an influence; it led to her requesting and receiving a role in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Nichols later worked as a recruiter for NASA.
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