Over the objection of actress Nichelle Nichols’ manager, a judge Monday named four individuals to serve as temporary conservators of the former “Star Trek” cast member, who is allegedly suffering from severe memory loss.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Barbara Johnson said she was granting the petition brought by Nichols’ son, Kyle Johnson, even though she was concerned about the potential cost of the conservatorship to the Nichols estate and did not have a doctor’s confirmation of the 85-year-old actress’ medical condition.
Johnson and Nichols’ sister, Marian Smothers, attended the hearing, but Nichols was not present.
Nichols played Lt. Uhura, a translator and communications officer, aboard the USS Enterprise in the “Star Trek” series that ran on NBC from 1966-69, and also had roles in some of the “Star Trek” movies.
The temporary conservators — Norine Boehmer, Dawn Mills, Susan Ghormley and Leandra McCormick — are “professional fiduciaries” whose full-time job is to take care of the money or other assets of another person.
Johnson’s attorney, Jeffrey Marvan, told the judge he was concerned that Nichols’ manager, Gilbert Bell, had recently deeded one of two properties Nichols owns to himself. Marvan also said he is uncertain what has happened to funds Nichols has earned from appearing at “Star Trek” conventions, which he said in 2015 amounted to $259,000.
Marvan and Nichols’ court-appointed lawyer, Jeffrey Shuwarger, said the actress has consented to the conservatorship and that she voluntarily did not appear in court on Monday.
“I want my clients funds to be safe,” Shuwarger said.
The judge said she was worried that given Nichols’ purported memory problems, she could say one day that she consents to the conservatorship and utter something different later. But Shuwarger and Marvan said they believe Nichols’ finances would be at risk if delays occurred in establishing the temporary conservatorship.
Yevgeny Belous, an attorney for the four conservators, said Nichols owns two properties collectively worth about $2 million.
Bell’s lawyer, Eric Jeter, asked for a two-week delay in making any decision on the temporary conservatorship, saying he spoke for the first time to his client Friday afternoon. He also said that Bell canceled the transfer of the property to himself after finding out about Johnson’s petition.
A hearing on whether to impose a permanent conservatorship on Nichols is scheduled for Aug. 16.
Marvan and Jeter declined to comment after the hearing.