Longtime associates of the actress recently spoke out against her son, who has been named her legal conservator by a court

By Aurelie Corinthios
August 01, 2019 03:10 PM

Two months after a disturbing video unveiled a contentious battle over her conservatorship, Nichelle Nichols has returned to the spotlight.

The actress, 86, attended the 18th annual official Star Trek convention at the Rio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on Wednesday. She was all smiles as she posed for photos, proudly doing the Vulcan salute in honor of the franchise. She was joined by her son, Kyle Johnson, who has been named her legal conservator by a court.

Nichols broke a major race barrier when she was cast as Lt. Nyota Uhura in the 1960s sci-fi series. When the show first aired in 1966, she was one of the first black women to play a major role on primetime television. She is popularly cited as having the first interracial kiss on American television, when her character famously locked lips with white leading man William Shatner‘s Captain James T. Kirk.

Gabe Ginsberg/Getty
Gabe Ginsberg/Getty

The outing comes just over two months after Gilbert Bell, who said he was Nichols’ manager for 12 years, provided Atlanta’s CBS46 with a video apparently taken by him. In the video, the actress could be heard screaming in protest as she held what Bell claimed were legal guardianship documents filed by her son Johnson. (Johnson had no comment when reached by PEOPLE at the time.)

Bell told PEOPLE at the time the situation was “devastating.” Nichols’ close friend Angelique Fawcette told PEOPLE she was shocked by the video, which was reportedly recorded on April 23.

“I knew [Nichols and her son] had a bad relationship,” she said. “I’ve never seen Nichelle scream like that. It’s like, what is going on behind closed doors every day?”

Fawcette, a movie producer, said she met Nichols in 2012 and has remained extremely close with her ever since, visiting her twice a month in recent years. And while Nichols reportedly suffers from dementia, Fawcette insisted she was “not a victim of delusions.”

RELATED: 19 Things You Never Knew About Star Trek: The Original Series

In August 2018 court documents obtained by PEOPLE, Fawcette objected to Johnson’s petition to be named Nichols’ conservator, arguing that the actress is “perfectly able to manage her financial and personal affairs,” noting her “active, current involvement in the film industry, including frequent visits to many Star Trek entertainment conventions, acting roles in new films, and interviews with the largest U.S. newspapers.”

In the documents, Fawcette alleged that Johnson’s “primary purpose” in becoming his mother’s conservator was to obtain access to her estate, “including, but not limited to, her income and personal and real property.”

On Thursday, Bell told PEOPLE that he is still “striving to have Kyle removed as conservator” and Fawcette told PEOPLE she is continuing to fight for Nichols’ rights.

A rep for Nichols did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment. Johnson was unable to be reached.

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