Guest of Honor: NICHELLE NICHOLS

By · April 19, 2008 · Filed in Pioneers, Previous Guests

Nichelle Nichols began her professional singing and dancing career in her home town, Chicago, at the tender age of 14. As a teenager, she was discovered by the great Duke Ellington who hired her to choreograph and perform a ballet for one of his musical suites, and finished the tour as his lead singer. Nichelle has performed in the U.S., Canada, and Europe, including guest artist with Lionel Hampton’s band.

Nichelle was cast by Gene Roddenberry to create Lt. Uhura in his legendary TV series, Star Trek. Subsequently, co-starred in the six blockbuster Star Trek motion pictures. She is in constant demand to appear before the millions of “Trekkers” who keep the dream alive around the world.

Here is a tribute video created by Mizanmedia honoring Nichelle Nichols for her work as Lt. (Cmdr.) Uhura in the world of Star Trek for the East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention (ECBACC) in 2008.

She was twice nominated for the coveted Sarah Siddons Award for best actress for her performances in the theatre productions of Jenet’s “The Blacks” and the Oscar Brown Jr. musical “Kicks and Company.” She starred in the touring Broadway hits, “Horowitz and Mrs. Washington,” and “Nunsense II”. In her one-woman show, “REFLECTIONS,”, she ‘becomes’ twelve legendary female entertainers, utilizing her beautiful three octave vocal range to rave reviews and plans for a CD album and a OVD of “REFLECTIONS.”

Nichelle was chosen to perform as guest solo artist with the Erie Pennsylvania Philharmonic Orchestra for their 80th Anniversary Celebration. She also performed as solo artist with the Symphony Orchestra of the California State University-Northridge, where she previously was commencement speaker for their School of Arts. Her latest CD album, “NICHELLE… OUT OF THIS WORLD, contains her original composition, “Gene,” in honor of “The Great Bird”.

On January 9, 1992, Nichelle was awarded her much deserved star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. A few weeks before, she became the first African-American to place her handprints and signature in the cement walk at the famous Mann’s (Grauman’s) Chinese Theatre. Along with her other command crew members on the Starship Enterprise, Nichelle was installed in a special exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, an unprecedented accolade for the entertainment industry.

Nichelle’s autobiography, “BEYOND UHURA,” and her first sci-fi novel, “SATURN’S CHILD,” featuring and intergalactic heroine, Saturna and its sequel, “SATURA’S QUEST” received critical acclaim. Currently, she is developing a children’s Edutainment franchise, “EUREKA ROAD”. In recognition of her many accomplishments, Nichelle was conferred a Doctor of Arts, honoris causa, from Marywood College on their 80th anniversary at which she delivered the commencement address. In July 2002, she was inducted as an Honorary Member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

Nichelle’s public service activities have been equally outstanding. Under contract to NASA she took on the daunting task to successfully recruit the first women and minority astronauts for the Space Shuttle Program, for which she received NASA’S distinguished Public Service Award for her pioneering efforts. She continues as a member of the Board of Governors of the National Space Society, and as a member of the Advisory Board of the International Space Camp.
In 2004 Nichelle was selected as one of the International Human Rights Consortium’s FETE d’EXCELLENCE Laureates. The commendation reads:

You have been selected for the Medaille d’Excellence 2004 in the category of ‘Edutainment.’ This is in recognition of your being a true innovator, a woman of courage and commitment to the deepest values of excellence through your artistry within the world of entertainment and also as an innovative educator and patron to learning and inspiring the budding minds and hearts of youth.”

Nichelle recently was chosen to join the cast, beginning in the second season, of the NBC blockbuster television series “HEROES”.

Read the latest news and information about Nichelle Nichols at www.uhura.com.

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