Zoe Saldana says late Star Trek actress Nichelle Nicols “not only thrived, but helped so many thrive” after her death at the age of 89.
The US actress, who also played Nichol’s famous role as communications officer Lieutenant Uhura, praised the veteran performer as a “real star” who was “always ahead of her time”.
News of Nichols’s death was announced Sunday by his son Kyle Johnson on his official Facebook page, which claimed she had died the day before in Silver City, New Mexico.
In a post shared on social media on Monday, Saldana said she had “big shoes to fill” in the role of Uhura, but that Nicols had “made me feel safe”.
“I am saddened to learn of Nichelle Nichols’ death. We lost a real star, a unique artist who was always ahead of her time, “she said in a long post on Instagram.
“She is an icon, an activist and most importantly, an extraordinary woman, who paved a path that showed so many how to see women of color in a different light.
“His struggle for equality was unshakable.”
He continued: “Meeting Nichelle was a very special moment in my life indeed. Her energy was contagious whenever I was in her presence.
“He convinced me to believe that everything was achievable, if you put your heart into it.
“I knew I had great shoes to fill when I was cast to play Uhura, and Nichelle made me feel safe, told me to play her with all the confidence in the world.
“My hope is that we continue to keep his memory alive by celebrating his extraordinary body of works and spreading the message of peace and equality among all people. She has lived a long and impactful life and not only thrived, but helped so many others to thrive as well.
“It will be hard to forget what he said and hard to forget what he did, and it will certainly be impossible to forget how he made us feel.
“Queen Nichelle rest in power.”
Other Star Trek family members paid tribute to Nicols following the news, describing her as a “pioneer”.
George Takei, who played Lt. Hikaru Sulu in the fictional starship USS Enterprise, said his “heart is heavy” after the news and later shared several longer tributes to his “dearest friend”.
Sharing several stories that “aren’t that well known,” she said, “Nichelle and I spent the next few decades together not just as colleagues on the Enterprise deck, but as lifelong friends.”
“While fans will miss and honor the famous actress who paved so many avenues with her screen presence, I will also miss the dear friend who always let you know she was there to support you, love you and deal with it all. strange and wonderful life by your side.
“Nichelle Nichols, you were one in a million in so many, many ways.”
Kate Mulgrew, who played Captain Kathryn Janeway on Star Trek: Voyager, praised Nichols for pioneering female actresses.
Sharing a photo of Nichols in his role as Lieutenant Uhura on Twitter, Mulgrew wrote, “Nichelle Nichols was the first.
“She was a pioneer who walked a very challenging path with grit, grace and a beautiful fire that we will probably never see again. You may rest in peace. “
While actress Jeri Ryan, who played the Borg Seven of Nine drone in Star Trek: Voyager, said, “RIP to a true legend. His legacy will live on forever” in his tribute.
The official Star Trek Twitter account also wrote: “We are deeply saddened to report the passing of Nichelle Nichols: a pioneer, an inspiration and more. We will miss her deeply.”