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‘Star Trek’ star Nichelle Nichols recovering from stroke

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  • Actor Nichelle Nichols during the Creation Entertainment's Official Star Trek Convention at The Westin O'Hare, in Rosemont, Ill. in June 2014. (Photo by Barry Brecheisen/Invision/AP, File)

NEW YORK » Nichelle Nichols, who played Lt. Nyota Uhura in the original "Star Trek" TV series and in follow-up films, is recovering from a stroke suffered Wednesday at her Los Angeles home.

Tests indicate the stroke was mild, her booking manager, Zachery McGinnis, said Friday. He said the 82-year-old actress began therapy Friday.

"She is awake, eating, in good spirits and able to have full conversations," McGinnis said.

Nichols’ role on "Star Trek" earned her accolades for breaking stereotypes for black actresses, with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. personally encouraging her to stay with the series. She met him at a civil rights gathering in 1967, at a point when she had decided not to return for the show’s second season.

He said, ‘You cannot do that,’" Nichols recalled. "You’ve changed the face of television forever, and therefore, you’ve changed the minds of people," she said the civil rights leader told her.

During the show’s third season, her character and William Shatner’s Capt. James Kirk shared what was described as the first interracial kiss to be broadcast on a U.S. television series. In the episode, their characters, who had always maintained a platonic relationship, were forced into the kiss by aliens who were controlling their actions.

Nichols also appeared in six big-screen spin-offs of the series starting in 1979 with "Star Trek: The Motion Picture."

More recently, she had a recurring role on television’s "Heroes," playing the great-aunt of a young boy with mystical powers. Her acting career has continued into the present day with roles in two upcoming films.

Leonard Nimoy, a fellow charter "Star Trek" cast member, died in February.

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