Monday, August 16, 2021
Star Trek actress Nichelle Nichols has found herself in a situation strikingly similar to Britney Spears. Nichols is currently in a conservatorship struggle that involves her only child, Kyle Johnson, her former manager Gilbert Bell, and a concerned friend, Angelique Fawcette—who Nichols named as her successor).
Nichelle Nichols is known for breaking the color barrier in television in the 1960s with her role as Lt. Nyota Uhura in Star Trek.
Similar to Britney Spears, Nichols' conservatorship battle is "raising public consciousness about conservatorships." Nichols' former agent and her concerned friend have taken steps to intervene because they feel that "Nichols is being denied the opportunity to live a life free of unwarranted restrictions."
A specific catalyst for the conservatorship struggle is Nichols' dementia. Nichols' son, Kyle Johnson, claims that his mother could be "exploited due to her mental instability" and sought a petition for her conservatorship three years ago.
In August of 2018, Fawcette filed an objection to Johnson's petition in which she argued that Nichols was still of sound mind and body and was capable of managing both her personal and financial affairs with some limited assistance.
Fawcette also alleged that Johnson is simply using the conservatorship to take advantage of his mother by abusing his role to access Nichols' income and personal possessions.
In 2019, Johnson was appointed conservator of his mother's estate, which Bell quickly opposed.
The conservatorship battle continues, while Nichols' condition is unclear—at least to the public.
See Okla Jones, Trailblazing 'Star Trek' Actress Nichelle Nichols At The Center Of Conservatorship Battle, Essence, August 16, 2021.
Special thanks to Joel C. Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.