How Martin Luther King Jr. Transformed Nichelle Nichols and Star Trek

Nichelle Nichols was cast in the role of Communications Officer Uhura on the original TV series “Star Trek” in 1966. But a routine casting decision it was not, as Nichols overnight became an icon and role model. But it took a chance meeting with a powerful and charismatic man to convince her of her own stature.

Photo by Alan Light

Nichols was a show business veteran by the time Gene Roddenberry selected her for “Star Trek.” So just one year into her journey where “no man had gone before,” Nichols was anxious to try something else new.

Then she met a fan who changed her mind and changed her life.

Today is Martin Luther King Jr Day in the U.S., so today, the story of how Dr. King changed Nichelle Nichols’s life and career, and even the very direction that “Star Trek” took. It’s a story Nichols told in her 1994 memoir Beyond Uhura. That’s when I met her.

So here now, from 1994, Nichelle Nichols.

Nichelle Nichol cied in 2022 at age 89.

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William Shatner

Leonard Nimoy

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William Shatner

Back in the fall of 1993, when I had scheduled an interview with actor. William shatner, it was fascinating to watch the generational divide in the office where I worked.

When he walked in, the oldest among us could be heard saying Captain Kirk is here!

The next oldest we’re saying TJ hooker is here!

And the youngest, at that point in the early ’90s, we’re saying the guy from rescue 911 is here!

William Shatner has undoubtedly been one of the most durable actors of our time, appealing across generations and across genres.

But to most, he is still most commonly remembered as captain James t. Kirk of The starship Enterprise. You remember, that 5-year mission to explore new worlds, that ended up only lasting three seasons?

By the time Shatner published his book Star Trek Memories in the Fall of 93. He had learned that not all of his Star Trek co-stars regarded him so very highly after all. As you’re about to hear.

So here now from 1993 William Shatner:

William Shatner is 90 now and os still acting.


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Leonard Nimoy
George Takei

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Leonard Nimoy

Photo: Gage Skidmore

Many people may think Leonard Nimoy’s career started with Star Trek. But he was a serious actor for a number of years before that. He even appearing in other science fiction shows.

But of course it was Star Trek that propelled him not just to fame but to Iconic status. His portrayal of a half-human, half-Vulcan Spock practically launch a cottage industry.

In 1975, Nimoy wrote a book called I Am Not Spock. Fast forward 20 years to 1995 when I interviewed him for another book he written, called I Am Spock.

And as you’ll hear, there’s a reason for his change of heart.

So here now from 1995 Leonard Nimoy

Leonard Nimoy died in 2015. He was 83.


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George Tak

George Takei

George Takei

Happy birthday to George Takei, who today is 83.

George Takei
Photo: Gage Skidmore

Many of us remember him best as Helmsman Sulu on the original “Star Trek” TV series, or perhaps as an author or activist or wildly popular and widely quoted and retweeted internet commentator.

George Takei was just four years old when the Japanese empire attacked Pearl Harbor and plunged America into World War Two.

The U.S. government ordered Japanese-Americans into internment camps, and the Takei family of California was among those taken into custody.

I met George Takei in the fall of 1994, when he published his autobiography.

Here now, from 1994, George Takei:

George Takei today is a strong advocate for LGBT rights and is ver politically active. And he has over 10-million followers on Facebook