NICHELLE NICHOLS: Hailing Frequencies Open

The lovely Lt. Uhura still enchants in this new interview …

Star Trek logo

Sometimes I have to step back and really consider how cool it is to be able to indulge in those moments where I can just be a fan.

Case in point: Chatting with Nichelle Nichols, Star Trek’s original Lt. Uhura.


Unlike a lot of fans I know, I didn’t grow up a Star Trek fan. When I was young, my Dad liked it but it bored me. Maybe it’s because nobody wore a mask and cape. (Then again, I did like the more kid-centric Lost in Space.)

But once I was in college, I spent my first summer after freshman year staying up late every night, watching the show on Channel 11 in New York. I was transfixed — and quickly became obsessed, reading novels and comics and pretty much whatever I could get my hands on.


That love, particularly of the Original Series, endures to this day, hence the Trek Tuesdays feature (click here) we’re doing to celebrate the show’s 50th anniversary.

I recently spoke with William Shatner and that was all kinds of great. (Click here.) And now I’ve also had a chance to speak with Ms. Nichols, who will be a guest at East Coast Comicon, just outside New York City on April 16 and 17. (Click here for info and tickets.)

I spoke with the lovely lieutenant by phone, me in New York, she in Los Angeles. Our time was brief, but she was sweet and funny.

From Twitter

From Twitter

I sometimes find it difficult to do interviews like this. Not because I get star-struck but because someone like Nichelle Nichols had heard it all. And that, I suppose, is what made her answers that much more delightful.

When I asked her the standard, “What’s your favorite memory of Star Trek?” she responded, “Oh my God — any time I got to go to lunch!”

And when I asked her when the last time she watched an episode of the show or one of her movies, she teased, “Every time that I get to get off this ship, I watch ourselves closely. I can’t watch it on the ship, I’m working too hard.”

One of her finest moments on the show, with George Takei as Evil Sulu

One of her finest moments on the show, with George Takei as Evil Sulu

She also said she’s pleased that Zoe Saldana has taken over the role of Lt. Uhura in the new films, the latest of which, Star Trek Beyond, is out this summer.

“I gave her my congratulations and told her she better not turn it down,” Nichols said. “She’s a wonderful actress and that’s why I told her not to turn it down — because I want a fine actress playing me.”


Naturally, after five decades of dealing with ardent fans, she’s comfortably aware of her legacy and that of the show.

She said she’s not at all surprised that people still watch Star Trek 50 years on:

“I’m not surprised at all. I would be surprised if they weren’t watching, wouldn’t you?” she said. “We did a fantastic show, a fantastic job, we had fantastic guest stars, and fantastic writers. So what more could you ask?”

Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 1.48.18 PM

Nichelle Nichols will be at East Coast Comicon on April 16 and 17. For more info and tickets, click here.


Author: Dan Greenfield

Share This Post On


  1. This U.S.S. ENTERPRISE Hits Warp Factor 8 | 13th Dimension, Comics, Creators, Culture - […] A couple of weeks ago, I interviewed Lt. Uhura herself, Nichelle Nichols, over the phone. (Click here). Well, my…

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: