Nichelle Nichols, who portrayed Nyota Uhura in the original ‘Star Trek’ series has found herself in the middle of a legal battle over guardianship. According to previous reports, Nichols has been diagnosed with dementia. Now, an individual claiming to be a friend of Nichols has challenged the reports, accusing Nichols’ son, Kyle Johnson, of trying to exert undue control over the 85-year-old.
TMZ reported that a woman named Angelique Fawcette filed legal documents claiming that Nichols wrote a note to her son in March 2017 informing him that she wants to amend her will after he allegedly told Nichols:
“I can’t wait to get rid of this sh*t and sell [your] house and property.”
In the papers, Fawcette is claiming that the diagnosis of dementia placed on Nichols is illegitimate, as the doctor who examined Nichols, Dr. Meena Makhijani, lacks the necessary qualifications and training to make such a diagnosis.
Dr. Makhijani serves as Nichols’ geriatrician and in his initial report, he suggested that Nichols was suffering from “moderate progressive dementia” and that her symptoms include “major impairment of her short-term memory and moderate impairment of understanding abstract concepts, sense of time, place and immediate recall.” Fawcette claims that this just isn’t true, as she has observed Nichols performing everyday tasks with no difficulty.
The dementia diagnosis means that four conservators have gained control of financial and health-related decisions for Nichols. Fawcette hopes to challenge that conservatorship.
Nichols has continued to appear at fan conventions as recently as San Diego Comic-Con in July, where she received a surprise lifetime achievement award, and at Star Trek Las Vegas in early August. Nichols also appeared at a convention last September, where she spoke about her work with NASA. Nichols said:
“They hired me to recruit the first woman and minority [for the space shuttle program]. They had heard me say ‘There are no minorities; I know dozens [who would be able to serve],’ and they said, ‘Find me one who will fit this criteria and we will hire a dozen.’ And I’ll be darned if they didn’t have to hire a dozen. They wrote me after that and said, ‘We thank you very much, you were right, we’re carrying on with everybody; if they’re qualified, they’re with us.’”
Check back for more developments as they become available!