Whoopi Goldberg Remembers Nichelle Nichols as “First Black Person I’d Ever Seen Who Made it to the Future”

Whoopi Goldberg took time to remember Star Trek star Nichelle Nichols on Monday’s The View.

Goldberg, in her role as moderator on the ABC daytime show, spoke about Nichols in a segment midway through the Monday broadcast in which she and the other co-hosts discussed the numerous high-profile individuals who died recently including Bill Russell, Pat Carroll and Heather Gray.

When she got to Nichols, Goldberg took a deep breath before speaking about the woman she called a “Star Trek legend” as well as a “trailblazer, a heroine and an extraordinary woman.”

Nichols “inspired millions and millions of people,” Goldberg said, including her, recalling what she had previously said when she joined the Star Trek franchise as Guinan.

“Nichelle was the first Black person I’d ever seen who made it to the future,” Goldberg recalled. “She was head of communications. This show and this woman was a beacon that said, ‘Yes, we’ll be there.’ And it just made me feel like that was an amazing thing, and she helped propel other women to go into space.”

On a personal note, Goldberg called Nichols a friend.

“I was lucky enough to spend time with her over the years,” Goldberg said of Nichols. “She was my friend and she’ll be missed.”

According to various online accounts that were recalled by media outlets when Nichols died, Goldberg has previously said she saw Nichols on television when she was 9 years old and was impressed that the actress wasn’t playing a maid.

Nichols died Saturday night at the age of 89 of natural causes, her son, Kyle Johnson, posted on her official Facebook page.

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A family spokesman told The Hollywood Reporter that she died in Silver City, New Mexico. She had been living with her son and was recently hospitalized.