hails from Chicago, Illinois, where she was discovered at the age of
15 by Duke Ellington while serving as choreographer and dancer in a
ballet for one of his musical suites, and doing a stint as lead singer
for his band. Later, Nichols performed in the U.S., Canada, and Europe,
including a guest spot singing with Lionel Hampton.
When Gene Roddenberry cast Nichols as Lt. Uhura in his now legendary
TV series Star Trek, Nichols found herself in a role that would change
her life. After seven blockbuster Star Trek motion pictures, Nichols
is in constant demand to appear before the millions of Trekkers
who keep the dream alive around the world. Far from being her only role,
Nichols has also starred in the Sandy Howard Film The Supernaturals,
and in the touring Broadway hit Horowitz and Mrs. Washington.
Live theater performance continues to be a favored venue for Nichols.
Twice she has been nominated for the Sarah Siddons Award for Best Actress
for her performances in Jean Genets The Blacks and Kicks
In 1991, Nichols became the first African American to place her handprints
and signature in the concrete outside Manns (Graumans) Chinese Theater.
Just a few short weeks later, in January 1992, Nichols was awarded a
star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The occasions were marked by two
especially treasured congratulatory messages: one from Whoopi Goldberg,
and the other from Mae Jemison, the first African-American female astronaut.
Both women credit Nichols with the inspiration to begin their careers.
Additionally, along with the Enterprise crew, Nichols has been given
an unprecedented accolade: an exhibit in Smithsonians National Air
and Space Museum.
A talented singer, writer, actress, and performer, Nichols public service
activities have been equally worthy of note. Nichols has served as a
member of the Board of Directors for the National Space Institute (now the National Space Society), and
been active in the leadership of the Space Cadets of America, an organization
for young people interested in space and space careers. Through her
consultant firm, Women in Motion, Inc., Nichols was instrumental in
the NASA Astronaut Corps pioneering effort to break away from their all-white,
all-male past. She received NASAs distinguished Public Service
Award for her efforts and continued success.
In 1994 she published her autobiography, Beyond Uhura: Star Trek and Other Memories. She has also authored the first two volumes of what is expected to become a science fiction trilogy: Saturn's Child (1995) and Saturna's Quest (2002).