Family of Star Trek Star Nichelle Nichols Launches GoFundMe Campaign to Pay Legal Fees for Elder Abuse Case

I have crossed paths with Nichelle at several conventions and got a chance to speak with her last at Wondercon . Truly a wonderful lady.


(LOS ANGELES, Aug. 17, 2020) – Kyle Johnson, son of Nichelle Nichols, the iconic Star Trek star, today filed a countersuit against Gilbert Bell. The suit accuses Bell of elder abuse, theft, fraud, and six other charges related to Bell’s bilking Nichols of significant assets including appearance fees, her pension, Social Security, and her Woodland Hills, California home.

Marian Smothers, Nichelle’s younger sister on behalf of the Nichols family including her other siblings, sister Diane Robinson, and brother Samuel Nichols, has just launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise capital to pay for extensive legal fees.

“Nichelle has always had such an independent spirit, living her life to the fullest and always looking out for others. To see someone take such unfair advantage of our dear sister, it just breaks my heart,” Marian Smothers stated. “We just had to band together to be there for her when she needs us the most.”

To donate or for more information, please visit her GoFundMe page at

The countersuit is being handled by the Los Angeles-based law firm of Ivie McNeill Wyatt Purcell & Diggs,

Nichols, 87, the African American actress and performer, is best known for playing the role of Lt. Uhura, Communications Officer of the Starship Enterprise in Star Trek The Original Series and subsequent Star Trek films 1 thru 6. The role was groundbreaking for African American characters and actresses in television and film.

Kyle Johnson, Nichols’ only child, has been her caregiver since August of 2018 and is also Conservator of her Person and Estate.

The countersuit charges Bell with consistent, tortious, malfeasant, and callous conduct as he “took advantage of a highly respected woman when she was vulnerable.” The countersuit alleges that in 2012, Bell “temporarily” moved into a second house on Nichols’ property and continues to live in the house under a fraudulent lease and a succeeding fraudulent Reverse Mortgage.

For more details, please read the GoFundMe campaign story.

The Lawsuit filing details can be found