Friday, August 5, 2022

Some of Marilyn Monroe's Best Performances

It seems to me that it is a sad fact that while one hears a lot about Marilyn Monroe, one actually hears very little about Marilyn Monroe as an actress. Her acting talent seems to have been overshadowed largely by her tragic life and death, not to mention her status as an icon.When many people think of Marilyn Monroe what really comes to mind is a caricature of the actual Marilyn Monroe. When they think of Marilyn, they think of a blonde bombshell in a skintight dress singing, "Happy birthday, Mr. President," in a soft, breathy voice. There was much more to Marilyn Monroe than her sad life and certainly more to Marilyn Monroe than the image the average person might carry in their mind. As many classic film fans know, she was an immensely talented actress who gave some great performances. Today, on the 60th anniversary of her death, I want to take the time to remember some of Marilyn Monroe's best performances.

Indeed, some of Miss Monroe's best performances came early in her career. She isn't on screen for very long in All About Eve (1950), but she leaves a lasting impression in the film. Marilyn Monroe plays Claudia Casswell, an actress and the date of of an important film critic at a party. Claudia is hardly respected as an actress, as her performances are generally considered terrible. Even so, at the party Claudia displays a deadpan wit and has no difficulty charming most everyone in the room.

Another one of Marilyn Monroe's early dramatic role is also one of her most disturbing. In Don't Bother to Knock, she plays Nell, a young woman with suicidal and even homicidal impulses, who exhibits some definitely disturbing behaviour. When the audience learns of Nell's past, they probably aren't surprised. Marilyn Monroe gives a bravura performance as Nell, one that makes the character sympathetic even as her she is going through a psychotic break.

Another great early performance by Marilyn Monroe is perhaps better known than playing Nell in Don't Bother to Knock. In Niagara (1953) Marilyn Monroe plays Rose Loomis, a woman married to an older man who also happens to be unhappy and very, very jealous. As it turns out, Rose begins an affair with another man and the two plot her husband's death. The femme fatale may not be the first sort of role that comes to mind when one thinks of Marilyn Monroe, but she does very well playing Rose Loomis. Quite simply, Rose is about as far from Sugar Kane as one can get.

Although she seems to be best known for comedies and musicals, Marilyn Monroe was particularly adept at drama. This is demonstrated by one of the films made midway through her career. In Bus Stop (1956), Miss Monroe plays Chérie, a singer at the Blue Dragon Cafe in Phoenix. Chérie  is a singer from the Ozarks with aspirations of Hollywood stardom. Unfortunately, she seems trapped in her current position, no matter how much she wants to get out of it. As Chérie, Marilyn Monroe is at her most vulnerable, and she portrays the character's sadness very well.

Of course, Marilyn Monroe was adept at comedy and it is perhaps for that reason her best known roles tend to be in comedies and musicals. A prime example of Miss Monroe's talent for comedy is in the movie Monkey Business (1952). In the film she plays Lois Laurel, the secretary of Oliver Oxley (Charles Coburn) of the Oxley chemical company. Lois is generally clueless and not particularly bright, leading to much of the humour in the movie. Marilyn Monroe (who in reality was very intelligent), plays the role perfectly, without going over the top and playing the character with perfect innocence.

Naturally, when it comes to comedy one cannot discuss Marilyn Monroe without mentioning How to Marry a Millionaire (1953), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), and Some Like It Hot (1959). In How to Marry a Millionaire she played the extremely myopic Pola, who refuses to wear her glasses when around men because she fully believes "men aren't attentive to girls who wear glasses." In Gentlemen Prefer Blondes showgirl Lorelei Lee who prefers men with money, regardless of their looks. In Some Like It Hot, Miss Monroe plays Sugar Kane, the singer and a ukulele player in Sweet Sue and the Society Syncopators. I won't go in depth on these three roles as much has been written about them already, but Marilyn plays each role with a subtlety that makes them all the more funny than if she had been over the top.

Marilyn Monroe's final performance would also be one of her best. In The Misfits (1961) she played Roslyn Taylor, a vulnerable, sensitive, and ultimately very sad divorcee who become involved with three cowboys. Miss Monroe plays Roslyn Taylor with a melancholy that few other actresses could pull off. Roslyn Taylor is a woman who has been defeated by life, but nonetheless survives. Given its stars (Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe) would die not long after the film's completion, The Misfits can be uncomfortable viewing.

Marilyn Monroe was much more than her tragic life and death. She was also much more than the image the general public seems to have of her. She was an immensely talented actress who was capable of playing a wide variety of roles with both subtlety and vulnerability. Sugar Kane may be her best known role with good reason, but over the years she played many roles that equally memorable.

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Godspeed Cinematographer Tom Richmond

Cinematographer Tom Richmond, who worked on such films as Stand and Deliver (1988), I'm Gonna Git You Sucka (1988), and Slums of Beverly Hills (1998), died on July 29 2022 at the age of 72.

Tom Richmond was born in Bronxville, New York in 1950. He earned a degree in photography from Harvard University. He was a camera operator on the TV movie documentary The Lord of the Universe (1974). From 1976 to 1978 he studied at the UCLA film school and from 1979 to 1980 he studied at the American Film Institute.

In the Eighties Mr. Richmond was a camera operator on the movies Repo Man (1984),  Night of the Comet (1984), and Salvador (1986). He served as an election on the movie Scarred (1983) and an additional photographer on Troll (1986) and Walker (1987). He served as cinematographer on the TV show Powerhouse and the TV movies Amityville Horror: The Evil Escapes and Nightmare on the 13th Floor. He was cinematographer on the movies Running Hot (1984), Hardbodies (1984), Hard Rock Zombies (1985), Stand Alone (1985), Space Rage (1985), Chopping Mall (1986), Hardbodies 2 (1986), The Malibu Bikini Shop (1986), Straight to Hell (1987), Stand and Deliver (1988), The Chocolate War (1988), I'm Gonna Git You Sucka (1988), and Pastime (1990).

In the Nineties Tom Richmond was the cinematographer on the movies Heaven is a Playground (1991), Roadside Prophets (1992), A Midnight Clear (1992), Killing Zoe (1993), Little Odessa (1994), Love and a .45 (1994), Homage (1995), Mother Night (1996), Johns (1996), First Love, Last Rites (1997), Oakland Underground (1997), Slums of Beverly Hills (1998), Wild Horses (1998), Waking the Dead (2000), and Gun Shy (2000). He served as cinematographer on the TV movie Mr. Stitch. He was also the director of photographer for the pickup unit for the movie The Winner (1996). He served as a key camera operator on the TV special David Blaine: Street Magic and a camera operator on the TV documentary A Hard Look. He was a camera operator on the documentary Hype! (1996).

In the Naughts Tom Richmond was the cinematographer on the movie The Château (2001), Chelsea Walls (2001), Knockaround Guys (2001), Hard Ball (2001), I'm With Lucy (2002), The Singing Detective (2003), House of 1000 Corpses (2003), Palindromes (2004), Right at Your Door (2006), Fast Track (2006), Chapter 27 (2007), Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist (2008), The Perfect Age of Rock 'n' Roll (2009), Quit (2010), and All About Evil (2010). He served as cinematographer on episodes of the TV shows Cold Case, Tilt, and Tanner on Tanner, and the TV mini-series Fallen. He was an additional photographer on the movie Monster (2003) and the movie Inland Empire (2006).

In the Teens Tom Richmond was cinematographer on the movies Should've Been Romeo (2012), All That I Am (2013), A Birder's Guide to Everything (2013), Little Boxes (2016), My Art (2016), and Shaking the Habitual: Live from Terminal 5 (2017).

Tom Richmond was also cinematographer on music videos, among them videos for ""Out of the Blue: Into the Fire" by The The, "Jeremy" (the colour version) by Pearl Jam, "Regret" by New Order, and "The Whole World Lost Its Head" by The Go-Gos. Tom Richmond also taught at both Brooklyn College and New York University.

While the movies of many cinematographers have similar looks, each one of Tom Richmond's movies had a different look. In a 1998 interview Tom Richmond explained,  "My style is completely based on the script and the director" and later in the interview said, "Every director is different in their styles and in their ability to communicate. All my films look different because they're not my visions; they're my reflections of the directors' visions." Tom Richmond certainly had a talent for capturing the mood and feel of any given movie. On James Gray's Little Odessa he used the 2:35 aspect ratio, the widescreen aspect ratio often used by Sergio Leone. For Keenen Ivory Wayans's I'm Gonna Git You Sucka, he perfectly captured the look of the Blaxpoitation movies of the Seventies.

Not only could Tom Richmond capture the perfect look for any given film, but he was a talented photographer capable of capturing beautiful images on film. Stand and Deliver begins with a moving shot of beautiful water. It is only when the camera pulls out that one realizes it is the Los Angeles River. Shots in  Slums of Beverly Hills of Los Angeles's famous palm trees are also impressive. So gifted was Tom Richmond as a cinematographer than frames in his movies also work very well as still photographs. Tom Richmond was never nominated for an Oscar, although he was nominated three times for Independent Spirit Awards (once for Stand and Deliver) and he won a Sundance Award for Right at Your Door). While he might not have received much in the way of awards or even nominations, he was still one of the best cinematographers of the late 20th and early 21st Centuries.

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

The Late Great Pat Carroll

Pat Carroll, who was a regular on both Caesar's Hour and The Danny Thomas Show, as well as a voice in numerous animated TV shows and movies, died July 30 2022 at the age of 95. The cause was pneumonia.

Pat Carroll was born on May 5 1927 in Shreveport, Louisiana. When she was five years old her family moved to Los Angeles. She began acting in local productions while she was still a child. When she was 20 she became a Civilian Actress Technician for the United States Army. Following her service she attended Catholic University in Washington, D.C. She graduated in 1949.

Pat Carroll made her film debut even before she graduated college, appearing in the movie Hometown Girl in 1948. She made her television debut in 1951 in an episode of Goodyear Television Playhouse. During the Fifties she was a regular on The Saturday Night Revue and Caesar's Hour. She also appeared on the variety shows, talk shows, and game shows The Red Buttons Show, The George Gobel Show, Max Liebman Presents, Who Said That?. The Jimmy Durante Show, The NBC Comedy Hour, The Steve Allen Show, Masquerade Party, The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show, The Pat Boone-Chevy Showroom, The Steve Lawrence-Eydie Gorme Show, The Dinah Shore Chevy Show, The Revlon Revue, The Arthur Murray Party, Keep Talking, The Jackie Gleason Show, and Tonight Starring Jack Paar. She guest starred on the shows The Pepsi-Cola Playhouse, The RCA Victor Show, Studio 57, The Mickey Rooney Show, Producer's Showcase, Kraft Television Theatre, General Electric Theatre, and The DuPont Show with June Allyson. She appeared in the movie Up Front (1951). Pat Carroll made her debut on Broadway in Catch a Star! in 1955.

From 1961 to 1964 Pat Carroll played Bunny Halper on The Danny Thomas Show. She guest starred on the shows The Ann Sothern Show, The Investigators, Please Don't Eat the Daisies, The Red Skelton Show, and Arnie. She did her first voice work in animation for the Saturday morning cartoon The Super 6. She played Prunella, one of the stepsisters, in the 1965 television production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella. She appeared on the talk shows, variety shows, and game shows Tonight Starring Jack Paar, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, Talent Scouts, Your First Impression, The Price is Right, Missing Links, Match Game, Fractured Flickers, The Object Is, Pantomime Quiz, Truth or Consequences, Get the Message, Password, I'll Bet, What's This Song, The Mike Douglas Show, Gypsy, Chain Letter, Girl Talk, The Danny Kaye Show, Pat Boone in Hollywood, Everybody's Talking, Personality, Liars Club, It Takes Two, You're Putting Me On, You Don't Say, To Tell the Truth, The Game Game, It's Your Bet, and The Carol Burnett Show. She appeared in the movie With Six You Get Eggroll (1968).

In the Seventies Pat Carroll was a regular on the short-lived sitcoms Getting Together and Busting Loose. She guest starred on the shows The Mary Tyler Moore Show; The Interns; My Three Sons; Love, American Style; Honeymoon Suite, Calucci's Department, Police Story, Nakia, Laverene & Shirley, Good Heavens, Police Woman, CPO Sharkey, The Love Boat, and Flying High. She appeared on such games shows as I've Got a Secret, Match Game, Celebrity Sweepstakes, Break the Bank, Shoot for he Stars, The $10,000 Pyramid, and Liar's Club. She appeared on the talk The Merv Griffin Show. She appeared in the movie The Brothers O'Toole.

In the Eighties Pat Carroll returned to Broadway in the production Dancing in the End Zone. She was a regular on the TV shows Too Close for Comfort and She's the Sheriff. She guest starred on the shows Trapper John, M.D. and Crazy Like a Fox. She was a regular voice on the television cartoons Galaxy High School, Yogi's Treasure Hunt, Foofur, and Pound Puppies. She was a guest voice on the animated shows Superman, A Pup Named Scooby-Do, and Chip 'n' Dale: Rescue Rangers. She appeared in the movie Butterflies in Heat (1986). She was the voice of Ursula in The Little Mermaid (1989) and provided voices for the English versions of the animated films My Neighbour Totoro (1988) and Asterix and the Big Fight (1989).

In the Nineties Pat Carroll guest starred on The New WKRP in Cincinnati, Evening Shade, and Designing Women. She reprised her role as the voice of Ursula on the animated TV series The Little Mermaid. She provided voices for the animated movie The Goofy Movie (1995). She appeared in the movie Songcatcher (2000). On Broadway she appeared in The Show Off and Electra.

In the Naughts Pat Carroll guest starred on ER. She reprised her role as the voice on Ursula on the Disney series House of Mouse. She appeared in the movies Outside Sales (2006), Freedom Writers (2007), and Nancy Drew (2007). She provided a voice for the English version of A Turtle's Tale: Sammy's Adventures (2010). In the Teens Pat Carroll appeared in the films Bridesmaids (2011) and BFFs (2014). She was the voice of Aunt Nela in the film Drawing Home (2016). On television she had a recurring role on the animated series Tangled: The Series. She reprised her role as the voice of Ursula in a guest appearance on the series The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse.

As a comedian and actress Pat Carroll was incredible. She won an Emmy for her work on Caesar's Hour with good reason. As Bunny Halper, the wife of Danny's manager Charlie Halper (Sid Melton) on The Danny Thomas Show, she was easily one of the funniest characters on a show filled with funny characters. Pat Carroll enriched any show she was on, which was why she was so much in demand, appearing with such legends as Red Buttons, Mickey Rooney, Steve Allen, Red Skelton, and Charley Weaver over the years. Able to extemporize funny lines on the spot, she was very much in demand in game shows from the Fifties to the Seventies. Even in her guest appearances Pat Carroll could easily steal the show. She was hilarious as a cranky patient sharing Mary's hospital room on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. On three episodes of The Red Skelton Show she played Clara Appleby, the domineering wife of Red Skelton's perpetually henpecked character George Appleby. Of course, Pat Carroll was also a gifted voice actor, providing voices for numerous animated TV shows and movies. In animation she played a wide variety of roles, from the sweet natured Granny in My Neighour Toturo to the villainous Ursula in The Little Mermaid. Pat Carroll was a gifted performer who always improved the quality of any show or movie she was in.

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

The Late Great Bernard Cribbins

Prolific character actor and singer Bernard Cribbins appeared in everything from feature films to television. He appeared in such films as The Mouse on the Moon (1963) and The Railway Children (1970). He was a regular storyteller on Jackanory and the narrator on The Wombles. He appeared on TV shows from The Avengers to Doctor Who. He even recorded hit singles ("A Hole in the Ground" and "Right Said Fred"). Sadly, Bernard Cribbins died on July 27 2022 at the age of 93.

Bernard Cribbins was born on December 29 1928 in Oldham, Lancashire.  He grew up in poverty during the Depression. His father was a plumber's mate and "jack of all trades" and his mother was a corduroy weaver and both had difficulty finding work. With money tight in his family, young Bernard Cribbins went to work at the Oldham Coliseum in 1943. It was the theatre's director, Douglas Emery, who took note of his talent and thus launched his career in entertainment. With the exception of his national service in 1947 with the Parachute Regiment in Aldershot, Hampshire and later Palestine, Bernard Cribbins remained with the Oldham Coliseum for years.

In 1949 Bernard Cribbins left the Oldham Coliseum and played seasons with the Piccolo Players at Weston-super-Mare, Somerset and later played at Chorlton-cum-Hardy in Manchester and the new Queen’s theatre in Hornchurch, Essex. In 1956 he made his debut on the West End in a musical version of The Comedy of Errors at the Arts theatre. That same year he made his television debut in the mini-series David Copperfield. In the late Fifties he guest starred on the TV shows The Vise, Theatre Night, The Army Game, Interpol Calling, International Detective, and ITV Play of the Week. He appeared in the TV movie Return to the Sea. He made his film debut in 1957 in Yangtse Incident: The Story of H.M.S. Amethyst. He appeared in the movies Davy (1958), Dunkirk (1958), Make Mine a Million (1959), Tommy the Toreador (1959), Two Way Stretch (1960), The World of Suzy Wong (1960), and Visa to Canton (1960).

In the Sixties Bernard Cribbins began his long stint appearing as a storyteller on the BBC children's show Jackanory. From 1969 to 1970 he had his own TV show, Cribbins. He guest starred on the shows Winning Windows, BBC Sunday-Night Play, Drama 61-67, The Troubleshooters, Mr. Aitch, Theatre 625, Armchair Theatre, The Avengers, Comedy Playhouse, and It's Tommy Cooper. He appeared in the movies The Best of Enemies (1961), Nothing Barred (1961), The Girl on the Boat (1962), The Fast Lady (1962), The Wrong Arm of the Law (1963), The Mouse on the Moon (1963), Carry On Jack (1964), Carry On Jack (1965), Crooks in Cloisters (1964), Allez France! (1964), A Home of Your Own (1965), She (1965), Cup Fever (1965), You Must Be Joking! (1965), The Sandwich Man (1966), Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. (1966), A Ghost of a Chance (1967), Casino Royale (1967), Don't Raise the Bridge, Lower the River (1968), and The Railway Children (1970). During the Sixties Bernard Cribbins also recorded a series of singles for Parlophone, including "Folk Song," "The Hole in the Ground," "Right Said Fred," and "Gossip Calypso."

In the Seventies Bernard Cribbins was the narrator on the children's TV show The Wombles. He continued appearing frequently as a storyteller on Jackanory. He starred on the series Get the Drift. He appeared in the mini-series Arrivano i mostri. He guest starred on the shows Ooh La La!, Fawlty Towers, The Sooty Show, Jackanory Playhouse, Space: 1999, BBC Play of the Month, and Once Upon a Classic. He appeared in the TV movies The Confederacy of Wives, Great Big Groovy Horse, James and the Giant Peach, The Plank, and Dangerous Davies: The Last Detective. He appeared in the movies Frenzy (1972), Picassos äventyr (1978), and The Water Babies (1978).

In the Eighties he continued to appear as a storyteller on Jackanory. He was the narrator on the show Bertie the Bat. He starred on the TV shows Cuffy, Moschops, Langley Bottom, High & Dry, and Edward and Friends.He guest starred on the shows Shillingbury Tales (on which he originated the role of Cuffy), Worzel Gummidge, Tales of the Unexpected, Alice in Wonderland, Super Gran, and The Rus Abbot Show. He appeared in the TV movies It's Your Move and When We are Married.

In the Nineties Bernard Cribbins continued to appear as a storyteller on Jackanory. He guest starred on the shows Tonight at 8:30; I, Lovett; Noel's House Party; and Dalziel and Pascoe. He was a guest voice on the animated shows Dennis the Menace and The Canterbury Tales. He appeared in the movie Christopher Columbus (1992).

In the Naughts Bernard Cribbins had recurring roles on Coronation Street, Down to Earth, and Doctor Who. He guest starred on the shows Last of the Summer Wine, Barbara, and Catching the Impossible. He appeared in the movie Blackball.

In the Teens he played the title role on the children's TV series Old Jack's Boat. He also appeared as Old Jack on its spinoffs Salty's Waggy Tales and Old Jack's Boat: Rockpool Tales. He guest starred on Midsomer Murders, New Tricks, and a new version of The Wombles. He appeared in the TV movie A Midsomer's Night Dream. He was The Voice in the movie A Fantastic Fear of Everything (2012) and appeared in the movies The Bed-Sitting Room (2016) and Patrick (2018). In 2021 he appeared in the podcast series The Jungle Book: The Mowgli Tales.

For people in the United Kingdom of a certain age there was a time that Bernard Cribbins was very nearly ubiquitous. In any given year he might appear on several television shows, not to mention a movie or two. Americans of a certain age had to be familiar with much of his work as well, given how the many movies in which he appeared in the Sixties. On either side of the Pond, Bernard Cribbins was then something of a comforting figure. People (particularly my fellow Americans) might not remember his name, but they knew they would be treated to a great performance.

And Bernard Cribbins gave many great performances, so many that to single out only a few, while necessary in a blog, doesn't seem fair. In The Mouse on the Moon he played the Prime Minister's son, educated in England and determined to become an astronaut. In Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 A.D., he played Tom Campbell, the police officer who finds himself face to face with Daleks. In The Railway Children he played the station porter Albert Perks. Of course, Bernard Cribbins appeared frequently on television. Among his best performances was The Avengers episode "The Girl From Auntie," on which he played Arkwright, a man who has formed a group of old ladies into a knitting circle. On a memorable episode of Fawlty Towers, he played a finicky spoon salesman. One of his best remembered roles was on Doctor Who. He played Wilfrid Mott, the grandfather of The Doctor's companion Donna Noble. Wilfrid was a bit eccentric, but also brave (once he took on Daleks with a paintball gun) and devoted to those he loved. Of course, in addition to Bernard Cribbins's acting career, he also recorded novelty songs. "The Hole in the Ground" and "Right Said Fred" remain classics to this day.

Bernard Cribbins was very prolific and he had a career that lasted decades. He was a talented actor with a gift for comedy, but who could also play drama very well. There can be no doubt that he will be remembered for years and years to come.

Monday, August 1, 2022

Hailing Frequencies Open: The Late Great Nichelle Nichols

There are those shows and those actors who have an impact on us from our earliest years. I cannot remember when I first saw Star Trek, but I know I must have been very young. That also means I have no idea when I first saw Nichelle Nichols. I simply know that I have been one of her fans as long as I can remember. The entire cast of Star Trek made a lasting impression on me and Nichelle Nichols was no different. When I was young, besides Gail Fisher on Mannix, she was the only Black actress on a drama I knew of.  What is more, Nichelle Nichols played Lt. Uhura, who as Communications Officer and fifth in command of the starship Enterprise occupied a position of authority. Miss Nichols could not help but make an impression on me. What is more, Nichelle Nichols impressed me beyond being a talented actress, singer, and dancer. She worked with NASA to recruit minorities and women in the space program. In the Eighties she served  on the board of governors of the National Space Institute. To put it simply, Nichelle Nichols was one of my heroes. Sadly, Nichelle Nichols died July 30 2022 at the age of 89.

Nichelle Nichols was born Grace Dell Nichols on December 28 1932 in Robbins, Illinois. She adopted the name "Nichelle" when she was a teenager. Her father, Samuel Nichols, was mayor and chief magistrate of Robbins. It is the second oldest  Black incorporated town in northern Illinois after Brooklyn, Illinois. Nichelle Nichols studied both ballet and Afro-Cuban dancing. It was while she was performing in a revue at the Sherman House hotel in Chicago that she was discovered by Duke Ellington. She toured with Duke Ellington and his band throughout the United States and later performed with Lionel Hampton's orchestra. In the Fifties, she performed in nightclubs in both the United States and Canada. She even opened for Redd Foxx.

Nichelle Nichols made her film debut in 1959, dancing in Porgy and Bess. In 1961 she appeared in the stage musical Kicks and Co. in New York City and later Chicago. She performed at the Chicago Playboy Club and also appeared in a Chicago stock company production of Carmen Jones. She later performed in a New York production of Porgy and Bess. In 1964 Nichelle Nichols made her television debut in the TV movie Great Gettin' Up in the Mornin'. That same year she guest starred on Gene Roddenberry's television series The Lieutenant and The CBS Repertoire Workshop. In 1966 she guest starred in two episodes of Peyton Place. It was in 1966 that she began her three year run as Lt. Nyota Uhura on Star Trek. While the show did not receive particularly good ratings, it developed a cult following even in its first run. It was while she was on Star Trek that Nichelle Nichols guest starred on the TV series Tarzan. In 1970 she guest starred on Insight. In the Sixties Nichelle Nichols appeared in the movies Made in Paris (1966), Mister Buddwing (1966), and Doctor, You've Got to Be Kidding! (1967).

In the Seventies Nichelle Nichols reprised her role as Uhura in Star Trek: The Animated Series and Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979). She guest starred on the TV show The D.A. She appeared in the movie Truck Turner (1974). In 1976 she was a  a special guest at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, watching the landing of Viking 1 on Mars. That same year she attended the  christening of the Space Shuttle Enterprise with other Star Trek cast members. Beginning in 1977 Nichelle Nichols began her affiliation with NASA through her company Women in Motion to recruit more minorities and women into the space program.

In the Eighties Nichelle Nichols continued to appear as Uhura in the Star Trek movies, including Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984), Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986), and Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989). She also appeared in the movie The Supernaturals (1986). She guest starred on the show Head of the Class and appeared in the TV movie Antony and Cleopatra. As mentioned above, it was in the Eighties that she served on the  the board of governors of the National Space Institute.

In the Nineties Nichelle Nichols appeared in the movie Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991). She was a host on the Sci Fi Channel program Inside Space. She guest starred on the TV shows ABC Weekend Specials and G Vs. E. She was a guest voice on the animated shows Batman: The Animated Series, Gargoyles, Spider-Man, Buzz Lighyear of Star Command, and Futurama. She appeared in the TV movie The Adventures of Captain Zoom in Outer Space.

In the Naughts she appeared in the movies Snow Dogs (2002), Surge of Power: The Stuff of Heroes (2004), Are We There Yet? (2005), Lady Magadalene's (2008), Tru Loved (2008), and The Torturer (2008). She had a recurring role on the TV show Heroes. She appeared in the pilot of the web series The Cabonauts. She was a guest voice on the animated series Futurama and The Simpsons. She appeared in the animated TV movie Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster.

In the Teens Nichelle Nichols guest starred on the TV shows The Young and the Restless, Downward Dog, and Space Command. She appeared in the Star Trek television fan film Star Trek: Renegades. She also appeared in the TV movie Sharknado 5: Global Swarming. She appeared in the movies This Bitter Earth (2012), Surge of Power: Revenge of the Sequel (2016), The White Orchid (2018), Mr. Malevolent (2018), Surge of Dawn (2019), and Unbelievable!!!!!. She appeared as Nyota Uhura in the fan-produced movie Star Trek: First Frontier (2020). In 2021 she guest starred on the TV series 12 to Midnight.

Nichelle Nichols has been described as a groundbreaking actress, and that is no understatement. While Cicely Tyson was the first Black actress in a major role in a television drama on East Side West Side, her character was the lead character's secretary. This made Nichelle Nichols to the first Black actress to play a character in a position of authority. After all, Nyota was not only the Communications Officer of the U.S.S. Enterprise, but its fifth in command. While Lt. Uhura never got to take command of the Enterprise on the original series, she got to do so twice on Star Trek: The Animated Series. Playing a character of some importance on Star Trek, Nichelle Nichols then paved the way for every Black actress appearing on a television drama ever since. Her importance was certainly not lost on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. After the first season of Star Trek, Nichelle Nichols was considering leaving the show. It was at an NAACP that she was told a fan wanted to meet her. It turned out that the fan was none other than Dr. King himself. He told her that Star Trek was the only show he and his wife would let their children stay up and watch. Nichelle Nichols then told Dr. King she was planning to leave Star Trek. He told her that she couldn't. He told her that "...for the first time on television, we will be seen as we should be seen every day, as intelligent, quality, beautiful, people who can sing dance, and can go to space, who are professors, lawyers." Essentially, Dr. King saw Lt. Uhura as an important role model for Black children and little girls.

Of course, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. turned out to be right. As Uhura, Nichelle Nichols inspired many young people to pursue careers as astronauts, astrophysicists, astronomers, and linguists, No less than Dr. Mae Jemison, physician, engineer, and the first female Black astronaut, has cited Nichelle Nichols as an inspiration. She even began every one of her shifts on the space shuttle Endeavor with Uhura's line, "Hailing frequencies open." Through her work with NASA, Nichelle Nichols was responsible for many women and minorities entering the space program.

As groundbreaking as Nichelle Nichols' role as Nyota Uhura was, it was not the only role she ever played. She was a talented singer and dancer who had performed in both Porgy and Bess and Carmen Jones. With regards to movies, she played Amelia Brooks, the adoptive mother of the protagonist in Snow Dogs. She was an elderly babysitter in the movie Are We There Yet?. In the movie Truck Turner she played a role as far from Uhura as one can get--Dorinda, who ran a stable of prostitutes.

In addition to being a talented actress, dancer, and singer, a true pioneer in television and film, and an activist for the space program, Nichelle Nichols was also well known for her kindness. Following her death George Takei wrote at length about their friendship and her kindness towards him throughout the years. Her kindness did not simply extend to her Star Trek cast mates, but to her fans as well. I know several people who have met her through the years (including my beloved Vanessa) and all of them have said she was one of the sweetest, kindest people they had ever met. Following her death, many fans paid tribute to her, writing about how kind and how nice she was to them. Nichelle was truly a legend. She was a groundbreaking actress who paved the way for Black actors on television and in film ever since. She inspired many to enter scientific and space related fields, and recruited minorities and women into NASA. But ultimately she was also a very kind woman who truly cared for people Nichelle Nichols was a legend and a very definition of a lady.