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Nichelle Nichols films her final performance for “Renegades: Ominara” at Northrop Grumman on March 5, 2021, in Manhattan Beach, Calif.
Britney isn’t the only one fighting for control of her life.
Nichelle Nichols, the 88-year-old actress who played Lt. Uhura in the original “Star Trek” series, is spending her sunset years trapped in an ugly conservatorship battle involving her only child and current conservator, Kyle Johnson; her former manager Gilbert Bell; and her friend and actress Angelique Fawcette, according to a new report by the Los Angeles Times.
After successfully petitioning for his mother’s conservatorship in 2018, Johnson has had a tumultuous time running it, and he and Bell have filed lawsuits accusing the other of various aggressions and controlling actions. Fawcette, whom Nichols named as her successor, meanwhile, believes that — despite her dementia — Nichols is capable of living independently, without a conservator. She also alleges that Bell, who in 2018 tried to marry Nichols, allowed her home to fall into “a state of disrepair” while he was caring for her.
Amid the fight for control of the actress’ life, she has continued working and is moving forward with what the Los Angeles Times says some are calling a “farewell tour” organized by Johnson and agent Sky Conway.
Nichelle Nichols in “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock” in 1984.
From the 1970s until the late 1980s, NASA employed Nichelle Nichols to recruit new astronaut candidates.
1966: Nichelle Nichols with William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy in “Star Trek
Her mental state is unclear, and she reportedly needed a teleprompter to recite lines on a recent shoot for the pilot of “Renegades: Ominara.” A Kickstarter for the sci-fi epic bills it as Nichols’ “final performance before heading into retirement.”
Her younger sister, Marian Nichols Smothers, says that, despite maintaining a busy schedule, Nichols has considerable memory loss.
“I feel like I’ve already lost my sister in so many ways,” Smothers told the Los Angeles Times. “She’s not the person she used to be, the vibrant, in-charge, take-care-of everything person.”
Fawcette has been unable to visit her and is currently working with an attorney to win the right to see her friend. “She’s not getting the life that she wished for,” Fawcette said. “She’s getting the life that other people have chosen for her.”
Kyle Johnson (left) and his mother, actress Nichelle Nichols, attend the 18th annual Official Star Trek Convention at the Rio Hotel & Casino on July 31, 2019, in Las Vegas.
Actress Nichelle Nichols attends the 17th annual Official Star Trek convention at the Rio Hotel & Casino on Aug. 1, 2018, in Las Vegas.
Actress Nichelle Nichols and manager Gilbert Bell arrive for her 85th birthday celebration held at La Piazza/The Grove on Dec. 28, 2017, in Los Angeles.
Actors Nichelle Nichols, Sonequa Martin-Green and William Shatner pose at the premiere of CBS’ “Star Trek: Discovery” held at The Cinerama Dome on Sept. 19, 2017, in Los Angeles.
Nichelle Nichols and actress/producer Angelique Fawcette attend the Sneak Peek World Premiere of “Unbelievable!!!!! The Movie” at Mann’s Chinese Theatre on Sept. 7, 2016, in Hollywood, Calif.
President Barack Obama poses with actress Nichelle Nichols giving the Vulcan salute of Star Trek fame in the Oval Office of the White House on Feb. 29, 2012, in Washington, DC.