-Marian Smothers, Sister of Nichelle Nichols
Click Here to Read the Complaint Filing
"Live Long & Prosper" - Cover Art by Robin Damore
Nichelle Nichols, the iconic African American actress and performer, is best
known and loved as ‘Lt. Uhura’ on the original Star Trek television series. As the first black woman in a non-traditional role on 1960s TV, her beauty, intelligence, and moxie inspired millions of women, especially women of color, in their aspirations, education, and vision for the future.
From the late 1970s Nichelle’s relations with NASA included recruiting many astronaut candidates for the Space Shuttle program. Many of her recruits were women or members of racial and ethnic minorities including Mae Jemison, Sally Ride, and Ronald McNair, just to name a few.
I am Marian Smothers, her younger sister, and on behalf of Nichelle’s siblings - our
sister, Diane Robinson, older brother Samuel Nichols, and all our relations - we are seeking your support for our beloved Nichelle.
Sisters Marian Smothers & Nichelle
Elder Abuse is a Widespread Issue.
According to the National Council on Aging, more than ten percent of those over 60 fall victim to elder abuse. Financial exploitation is one of the many ways in which seniors are taken advantage of by the people they trust. Sadly, many well-known celebrities, including Rosa Parks, Stan Lee, Mickey Rooney, and Casey Kasem reportedly suffered elder abuse in their later years. Unfortunately, this has also happened to Nichelle.
What Really Occurred?
Nichelle has always been very independent, living life on her own terms. She has
enjoyed a successful career in the public eye – acting on television and in films,
performing live, and making personal appearances at fan conventions.
In 2010, she first encountered Gilbert Bell. He said he was a producer and that he was developing a feature film in which he hoped to have Nichelle co-star as well as be a 50-50 partner in the enterprise and its profits. Slowly, deliberately, and methodically,
Bell insinuated himself into her life. He convinced her to allow him to move into the second house on her property adjacent to her residence as they worked on the project that never happened. Bell still lives in the house under a fraudulent lease essentially paying nothing while compelling Nichelle to pay all his utilities, and he continues to fight his removal.
In 2013, Nichelle was in a very weakened state following a hospitalization. Knowing that her immediate family members mostly lived outside of California, Bell took advantage of the situation to obtain her signature on medical and general Powers of Attorney. Over time, as he continued to gain influence, fees from her many personal appearances, and even her pension and Social Security, began to disappear.
He later deeded her personal residence into his name, which was the final act that
triggered the Petition for Conservatorship eventually granted to her son, Kyle Johnson.
We believe that Bell has taken financial advantage of Nichelle to the tune of well over a million dollars, but we have only scratched the surface.
Her Only Child, Kyle Johnson, is Nichelle’s Conservator and Fulltime Caregiver.
Son, Kyle, with Nichelle and George Takei
In August of 2018, our nephew Kyle, who has lived with his wife in New Mexico since the 1990s, returned to Los Angeles to be Nichelle’s fulltime caregiver and subsequently, Conservator of her Person and Estate. But so much of the major damage had already been done.
Since then, Gilbert Bell has done the only thing left for him to do – he has slandered Kyle’s good name in numerous publications. He recorded a staged encounter with him, Nichelle, and Kyle, releasing the video to media outlets and the LAPD, and filed suit demanding the continued fraudulent possession of her adjacent property under onerous terms.
How Can You Help?
As a fan and admirer of Nichelle, we ask for your support by donating towards the
accumulated and ongoing legal fees to defend her and ensure the continuing
conservatorship by her son, Kyle. These funds are necessary for defending Nichelle from Gilbert Bell’s baseless but damaging suit, our counter-suit and associated expenses of discovery, trial, etc, and to recover all or some of what he has stolen and mitigate the damage he has inflicted upon her. We appeal to your generosity and appreciate your support in any amount. Please share this on your Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts. If you would consider more active participation, please contact us.
The Nichols Family
Thank you for your concern, compassion, and contribution.
Marian Smothers for Nichelle & The Nichols Family
A Message from Walter Koenig
Nichelle Nichols has been a true and loyal friend for over fifty years. She has been financially abused by a person pretending to protect her interests. I urge everyone who knows what a beautiful person she is to support the GoFundMe established in her name. It is a cause very much worth contributing to. She is one of the really great people out there.
- SUSAN Fisher-Bunting
- Laurie Batchelor
- Stefanie Schweer
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