A new report suggests that a Star Trek living legend may be in an unfortunate position.
According to TMZ, Kyle Johnson, the son of 85-year-old actress Nichelle Nichols, claims that his mother is suffering from “severe short-term memory loss” and is being taken advantage of by those around her.
TMZ reports that Johnson on Friday filed legal documents nominating 4 fiduciaries to become Nichols’ conservators. This move would give the fiduciaries control of Nichols’ finances and any decisions related to her health, theoretically protecting her from further manipulation.
Johnson says that the move is necessary because Nichols’ dementia is "impacting her executive functioning,” making her "susceptible to undue influence," adding that “Certain individuals have unduly exerted themselves into Ms. Nichols' life to her detriment."
Nichols is best known playing the role of communications officer Lt. Nyota Uhura in Star Trek: The Original Series and the six films that followed it. She remains active in Hollywood with three projects set for release this year, including the Star Trek parody film Unbelievable!!!!!, which she produces and appears in.
ComicBook.com spoke to Nichols in December 2017 and the star seemed optimistic about the future of the Star Trek franchise that she helped launch, praising Star Trek reboot movie star Zoe Saldana, who plays the Kelvin timeline’s Uhura, by saying, “ She’s great. When I was leaving the country at the time, I told her I gave her my best and wished her the best, and she did very, very well with it.” Saldana received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame earlier this week.
Nichols offered a similar sentiment to the cast of Star Trek: Discovery, the latest television series in the franchise, saying, “Do your best and be what you want to be.”4comments
Nichols’ is also an icon in popular culture for playing one of the first major roles for a black woman on television and sharing the first interracial kiss on American television with co-star William Shatner. Her encounter with civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was recently retold on an episode of Drunk History, and she spoke to ComicBook.com about using her influence to help steer NASA towards diversification.
“They hired me to recruit the first woman and minority [for the space shuttle program],” Nichols said. “They had heard me say ‘There are no minorities; I know dozens [who would be able to serve],’ and they said ‘find me one who will fit this criteria and we will hire a dozen.’ And I’ll be darned if they didn’t have to hire a dozen. They wrote me after that and said, 'we thank you very much, we were right, we’re carrying on with everybody; if they’re qualified, they’re with us.'”