Star Trek's original Lt. Uhura, Nichelle Nichols, suffers stroke

Time to open the hailing frequencies and send some positive thoughts to sci-fi's best-known communications officer. Nichelle Nichols suffered what was described as a "mild stroke" in her Los Angeles home on Wednesday night (June 3) and was rushed to a local hospital, according to Variety.

Zach McGinnis, a rep for the 82-year-old actress, posted a message at her Facebook page saying, "Last night while at her home in L.A., Nichelle Nichols suffered from a mild stroke. She is currently undergoing testing to determine how severe the stroke was. Please keep her in your thoughts.”

He followed it up with an update post, stating: "Nichelle Nichols has had both a CAT scan and an MRI today. The CAT scan came back negative and we are awaiting the results from the MRI. Currently she is awake, eating, in good spirits and able to have full conversations. Her right side has shown minor signs or mobility loss but she is not showing any signs of paralyses."

Nichols, who began her career as a singer in the late 1950s, rose to fame as Lieutenant Nyota Uhura on the original Star Trek TV series, which aired on NBC from 1966 to 1969. She also voiced Uhura on Star Trek: The Animated Series in 1973 and appeared in the first six Star Trek feature films, from 1979's Star Trek: The Motion Picture through 1991's Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

The prominent placement of a black woman as part of the command crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise on the original series was seen as unprecedented and groundbreaking for American television in the 1960s. 

Her other credits include the role of Nana Dawson during the second season of the NBC series Heroes, along with voice work in the animated TV shows Futurama, Gargoyles and Spider-Man.

Nichols' illness comes during a tough year for Star Trek fans, who have already lost Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock) and Grace Lee Whitney (Yeoman Janice Rand) in February and May, respectively. We send her best wishes for a quick and complete recovery.

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