Trailblazing actress Nichelle Nichols passed away on July 30 at the age of 89. While the star was widely known for her groundbreaking role of communications officer Lt. Nyota Uhura on the original STAR TREK series, THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS viewers will remember Nichols for her 2016 stint as Neil’s estranged mother, Lucinda Winters.
In a statement on her official website, Nichols’ death was confirmed on July 31 by her son, Kyle Johnson. “I regret to inform you that a great light in the firmament no longer shines for us as it has for many years. Last night, my mother, Nichelle Nichols, succumbed to natural causes and passed away,” he wrote. “Her light, however, like the ancient galaxies now being seen for the first time, will remain for us and future generations to enjoy, learn from, and draw inspiration. Hers was a life well lived and as such a model for us all.”
In addition to playing Uhura for all three seasons of STAR TREK on primetime, Nichols went on to voice her alter ego in the animated series and several video games and reprised her character for the first six Star Trek feature films. Nichols’ final performance will be in the upcoming indie film Renegades: Ominara, set in the Star Trek universe. The movie follows the life of a young orphan who eventually becomes the head of the criminal underworld, told through her point of view as an older woman and her younger self. Nichols will be playing the title character, while Y&R alum Loren Lott (ex-Ana) is the younger version of Ominara. (You can read Lott’s touching tribute to Nichols on her Instagram page.)
When the actress appeared on Y&R for a multi-episode arc in 2016, Neil got the closure he always needed regarding his mother’s abandoning him. As it turned out, Lucinda had long struggled with alcoholism and left her son to be raised by his father because she feared she wouldn’t be able to care for him properly. Thankfully, Neil made peace with his mother before she sadly passed away. The performance earned Nichols a Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Performer in a Drama Series. “RIP to the legendary and extraordinary Nichelle Nichols,” the soap wrote on its official Y&R Insider Twitter page. “It was an honor to [have] her bless Y&R with her talents in 2016.”
Nichols is survived by her son, Kyle Johnson. Please join us in sending our condolences to Johnson and the rest of his family at this difficult time.