‘Star Trek’ Actress Nichelle Nichols, Costume Historians Paula M. Block & Terry J. Erdmann

Actress Nichelle Nichols is best known for her groundbreaking portrayal of Lieutenant Uhura on the original Star Trek television series.

When Gene Roddenberry began casting a science-fiction television series to be set in outer space, he invited Nichols to audition. She was ultimately cast in the now-legendary series Star Trek as Lieutenant Uhura, communications officer for the Starship Enterprise. (The name “Uhura” was adapted from “uhuru,” the Swahili word for “freedom.”)

Nichols’s groundbreaking television performance as an African-American woman in a confident, authoritative role drew immediate notice from Star Trek‘s audience. Nichols, still envisioning herself as a theater performer, considered leaving the series after the first season. However, a conversation with the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., during which King encouraged her to remain in the role, changed her mind.

Nichols appeared throughout the run of Star Trek, from 1966 to 1969. As Uhura, she enacted television’s first interracial kiss, with William Shatner’s Captain James T. Kirk in the 1968 episode “Plato’s Stepchildren.”

Nichols also appeared in six Star Trek motion pictures released between 1979 and 1991.

Paula M. Block is the co-author of numerous books about the entertainment industry, including Star Trek Costumes: Five Decades of Fashion from the Final Frontier; Star Trek: The Original Series 365, Star Trek 101, Monk: The Official Episode Guide, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, and many more.

She is also the co-editor of Pocket Books’ popular short story series Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. Over the course of her lengthy and eclectic career in publishing, she has been a columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, the Midwest correspondent for Biotechnology Newswatch, and the International Editor for Chemical Week.

After nineteen years overseeing and editing licensed publishing for Paramount Pictures and CBS, Paula moved to Southern Oregon with her husband, author Terry J. Erdmann, and their two collies, Shadow and Mandy. The scenery may be different, but the writing goes on!

Terry J. Erdmann is a co-author of the ebook novella Star Trek: Deep Space Nine—Lust’s Latinum Lost (And Found). He has also written the non-fiction books: Star Trek Costumes: Five Decades of Fashion from the Final Frontier; Star Trek Pop-Ups; Star Trek The Original Topps Trading Card Series; Star Trek The Next Generation 365; Star Trek The Original Series 365; Star Trek 101; Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion; The Secrets of Star Trek: Insurrection; The Magic of Tribbles; and Star Trek: Action!

His additional titles include Monk: The Official Episode Guide and The 4400 Companion. During his career in film publicity, Terry authored The Last Samurai Official Companion. They live in Southern Oregon with their two collies, Shadow and Mandy.

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