On December 28, 1932, in Illinois, Nichelle Nichols was born. Singer, dancer, actress, and writer, Nichelle Nichols continues to be an inspiration 79 years later to generations of Star Trek fans. Collecting Uhura and Nichelle Nichols memorabilia takes on a special meaning when considering the character’s place in television history and the contributions to the arts and space program of the actress who played her.
To celebrate Nichelle Nichols’ birthday, TrekNews.net has a special look at some of the most memorable Nyota Uhura collectibles. Happy Birthday, Nichelle Nichols!
A sign of the popularity of the character of Uhura is how many action figures of her have been made MEGO, Playmates Toys, and Art Asylum/Diamond Select Toys have all included Uhura in their lines. From 2.5” minimates to 12” dolls, Uhura has been a featured character in the action figure lines of MEGO during the 1970s, Playmates Toys during the 1990s, and Art Asylum/Diamond Select Toys recently.
Uhura Figures from Art Asylum
Bradford Exchange continues to highlight the character of Uhura in their collectibles. Uhura has her own H-Scale Train and has been featured in several of the recent U.S.S. Enterprise Figurine collection.
Uhura Figure from Bradford Exchange
From plates to potatoes, Uhura’s popularity is apparent because of the amount tchotchke the character graces. The Hamilton Collection has featured Uhura plates, there have been Uhura glasses, and PPW Toys this November offered a Spock and Uhura Mr. Potato Head toys!
Spock & Uhura Mr. Potato Head Figures
One of the rarest Uhura collectibles is the limited edition Hallmark Ornament variant from the 2009 San Diego Comic Con featuring her yellow costume. There were only 450 made, and they have become the most expensive Hallmark Star Trek ornaments ever made on the secondary market.
Nichelle Nichols at the 2011 Las Vegas Star Trek Convention
Nichelle is a wonderful guest at conventions, and there and through her website, fans can obtain her signature. A personalized autograph by her is a real treasure.
Maria Jose and John Tenuto are both sociology professors at the College of Lake County in Grayslake, Illinois, specializing in popular culture and subculture studies. The Tenutos have conducted extensive research on Star Trek’s history, and have been invited to present at venues such as Creation Conventions, ReedPOP’s official Star Trek 50th Anniversary Convention, the St. Louis Science Center, and to the towns of Riverside, Iowa (future birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk) and Vulcan, Alberta, Canada. They have appeared in episodes of the Netflix TV show “The Toys that Made Us” and in the Decades Network documentary “Through the Decades: Star Wars 40th Anniversary.” They’ve written for the official Star Trek Magazine and their research has been featured on BBC Radio, WGN News, CBS News, and in the USA Today and WIRED Magazine.