Iconic Star Trek actress Nichelle ‘Lt Uhura’ Nichols boldly filmed a time capsule video to prevent her family stopping her attending the conventions that are her life-blood.
The emotional footage, shot in 2013, shows Nichols, 85, who is suffering from dementia, reveal her son Kyle Johnson, 66, did not believe she should continue working.
Five years on, the star still attends conventions around the world, including Comic-Con in San Diego in July and Star Trek Las Vegas this week.
But the clip has emerged ahead of an August court hearing in which a judge will decide whether Nichols should be assigned a permanent guardian.
Nichols, who played Lt Uhura in Star Trek, was placed under four temporary conservators in May after her son told a court she was suffering from dementia.
Her friend, producer Angelique Fawcette, 48, says the actress asked her to record the clip in February 2013, before her condition deteriorated.
Fawcette is releasing it now because she fears that if Nichols is stopped from attending conventions she will have no source of income and stagnate.
That could result in her losing her house in Woodland Hills, California, and being admitted to a rest home, which Fawcette claims Nichelle does not want.
The filmmaker, who met Nichols in 2012 on the set of her Star Trek spoof, Unbelievable!!!!, said: “Nichelle said to me she wanted to film the video.
“She wanted to protect herself.”
In the clip, Nichols, who owns two properties worth $2million, says: “Many times my relatives think I’m working too hard, or shouldn’t be doing this after all these years.
“My beautiful son, Kyle, says, ‘Mom, you have to,’ – of course he never stops working. He says, ‘Mom, you’ve got to get some rest.’
“And I appreciate that.
“But I was on my way out of town again, and he does’t live in the same town. He doesn’t live in Hollywood of Beverly Hills.
“He sees me on travel as overwork.
“I think he thinks Star Trek, the movie for which I’m most known, is not a blessing to me.
“Whichever Star Trek (unclear) disagrees. They all know who I am, what I am and why I love all of them as much as they love all of me.”
Nichols, who attended Comic-Con in San Diego earlier this month, where she was honoured with a lifetime achievement award, adds: “It’s funny that my son, who works his little tail off with his work, thinks that I should be letting up.
“And I say to him, ‘Kyle, when you pay my bills, you will be able to tell me what to do. You don’t pay my bills.’
“And he says, ‘Well, if you didn’t travel so much,’ or something like that. ‘You shouldn’t be.’
“I said, ‘You cannot tell me what I can and cannot be as a human being, any more than you can tell a woman what she can and cannot be or do, a man which mountain he can climb.’
“All my ventures in my life have been mountains that I enjoy climbing. I think he still, still really doesn’t understand.
“There are a few other people who think I should be, I don’t know – do housework or something that fits my age.
“Well, I said, ‘When you pay all my bills and all my luxuries that I have enjoyed in life, maybe I’ll let you say one thing in my life. But you don’t pay for my life. You don’t own me and I don’t try to own you.’“I had that problem, even with my son.
“I said, ‘If you ever need anything, come to me.’
“In the meantime, let me know. Let me know. Sit down and talk. ‘Mom, I don’t want to talk, I’ve got a business. I’m doing this over here.’
“Kids are kids. Just because he is what, 35, 40, doesn’t mean he can tell me how I can live my life.
“He thinks it’s really awful that I’m still traveling as if I have to do that in order to live.
“I don’t have to do anything.”
Asked whether whether she still wants to act, go to conventions and sign photos, Nichols says yes.
“Absolutely. It’s very exciting because for ever era that comes along with Star Trek, it’s a new era and yet Star Trek is a hit.
“So it makes it for me, a strong and powerful presence in my life.
“I go out to speak at Star Trek conventions and the people, the fans, are so appreciative and they all have questions.
“Some of them have the same questions but most of them, even if it’s the same kind of questions, there’s a newness in it.
“I was trying to tell my son today, who wants me to stop–.”
Angelique asks: “Stop doing what?”
“Star Trek. Stop going out of town,” she responds.
“Stop – I go to Europe, I go to New York, I go to San Francisco, I go wherever the – to Texas.
“Wherever the Trek, that’s mine now, for me to enjoy.”
Fawcette, who was given away by Nichols when she tied the knot to her husband Steven in April 2013, said: “If she doesn’t make money, she can’t afford to keep her home.
“I want people to be aware of what she is going through.”
In May, an LA Superior Court judge granted a petition from Nichols’ son to sign over control of Nichols’s assets to four temporary conservators due to her memory loss.
Johnson’s attorney, Jeffrey Marvan, told the judge he was concerned Nichols’ manager, Gilbert Bell, had deeded one of her two properties to himself.
He also said $259,000 in funds from Star Trek conventions in 2015 had disappeared from Nichols’s account.
The next hearing, which will determine whether permanent conservators are assigned, is scheduled for August 16.
Fawcette claims she attempted to file a petition to present the footage to the court but her request was denied.
She is releasing the video to the media to ensure it is seen by the judge and plans to show it to Star Trek fans to rally support this week.
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