As Lieutenant Uhura on the classic television series “Star Trek,” actress/singer Nichelle Nichols was one the most groundbreaking Black actresses of all time. Not only was she one-half of TV’s first interracial kiss (with Captain Kirk, who else?), her Uhura was Martin Luther King, Jr.’s favorite TV character for its then-futuristic portrayal of an African-American female professional on equal footing with White men. All that, and she was beyond gorgeous, too! With her fashion-forward hairdos, epic lashes and bright manicures, she was one of the ’60s most influential trendsetters.

The Chicago native broke into show business in her late teens, appearing in the musical “Kicks and Co.” and then toured the world as a singer with Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton. In 1967, Nichols auditioned for the part of Uhura (which wasn’t written for a Black actress), nailed it, and landed the seminal role. She felt her role wasn’t significant enough, though, and was tempted to quit after the first year, but it was Martin Luther King, Jr. who convinced her to stay, telling her that as a role model for her race, she couldn’t give up!

These days, the still-stunning 78-year-old is executive producing films and is featured in PBS’s “Pioneers of Television,” which debuts this week.

Lieutenant Uhura, we salute you and your timeless glamour!

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