Star Trek legend Nichelle Nichols reveals how she passed the torch to Zoe Saldana


Star Trek star Nichelle Nichols has revealed how she became buddies with Zoe Saldana, who took on the role she made famous.

Nichelle, 83, shot to fame as Lieutenant Nyota Uhura in the original TV series of the sci-fi franchise in 1966.

Actress Nichelle Nichols arrives at the 23rd Annual Imagen Awards
Actress Nichelle Nichols arrives at the 23rd Annual Imagen Awards (Gus Ruelas/AP)

Zoe has since taken on the role for the big screen reboot of the franchise, kicked off by JJ Abrams.

Nichelle revealed Zoe gave her a call when she got the part, saying: "She's wonderful, when she got the job I knew a change was coming.

Zoe Saldana, left, and Nichelle Nichols present an award at the 9th Annual BET Awards
(Chris Pizzello/AP)

"She called me when she got it, I didn't know her but we became buddies over the phone. She was wonderful in the film, she does a great job."

Asked if she gave her any advice on playing a role as pioneering as Uhura, Nichelle said: "I don't give advice, everyone has a vision and everyone has a right to create or it would be same old, same old.

"We were all invited to the opening and it was very, very good."

Nichelle still sees her castmates, including William Shatner, with whom she shared the first on-screen interracial kiss, when they get together for fan events.

Handout image from BFI (British Film Institute) showing the famous clinch between Captain Kirk and Lieutenant Uhura, played by William Shatner and Nichelle Nichols, in a Star Trek episode in 1968, which as one of the earliest known inter-racial kiss on British television.

She said: "It's like no time has passed, it's like day one. We care about each other.

"The fandom is like a whole family, it's young people and their grandma and grandpas, they love us and we love them.

"I've had more bizarre fan encounters than I can attempt to repeat! The fans are wonderful, I know them and they know me."

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the show, CBS Action will present The Nation's Favourite Star Trek: The Original Series Episode, a countdown of the 20 most popular Star Trek episodes, as voted for by the viewers, throughout the weekend of September 3 and 4.