Illinois – Nichelle Nichols
We’re going back to the original series again for the best Star Trek actor from Illinois. Surely every Trekkie can appreciate communications officer Lieutenant Uhura. Portrayed by Robbins, Illinois native Nichelle Nichols, Uhura has become one of the franchise’s most iconic characters. She would reprise the role in each of the Star Trek feature films, with Uhura eventually earning a promotion to become Commander Uhura.
Since her conception, the Uhura character helped bring about real life changes in terms of tolerance in American society. At the time, Uhura was presented as one of the very first African American TV characters that wasn’t somebody’s servant. This was considered to be groundbreaking, even more so when she shared an interracial on-screen kiss with William Shatner. Even Martin Luther King, Jr. enjoyed her on the show so much, he pleaded with her not to leave when news broke out that she was considering doing so.
Nichols has had other film and TV roles in the years following Star Trek. But certainly, Uhura is how she’ll be best remembered. And that will last forever, as there is even an asteroid officially named after the actress— the Asteroid 68410 Nichols.
Well into her 80s, Nichols still acts on occasion.