Nichelle Nichols’ son appointed temporary conservator of estate
‘Star Trek’ actress reportedly battling dementia
City News Service | 9/13/2018, midnight
A judge has ruled that she will continue hearing conservatorship proceedings regarding 85-year-old “Star Trek’’ cast member Nichelle Nichols, finding that a friend of the actress—who has allegedly suffered memory loss—does not have the legal right to try and remove the judge from the case.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Barbara Johnson heard arguments on Aug. 16 by lawyers for Angelique Fawcette asking that the judge step down from the case, then took the case under submission and issued her decision on Sept. 5. Fawcette is a producer and actress based in Ventura County.
The judge found that Fawcette, who says Nichols does not need a conservator, had no standing to bring the removal motion because she was not a party or an “interested person’’ as defined by the law.
Although a geriatrician who examined Nichols concluded that she suffers from “moderate, progressive dementia,’’ Fawcette says Nichols can manage her affairs with the help of a regular assistant.
Fawcette maintains that Johnson’s May 14 decision naming four individuals to serve as temporary co-conservators of Nichols was unnecessary. The judge said she granted the petition brought by Nichols’ son, Kyle Johnson, even though she was concerned about the potential cost of the conservatorship to the Nichols estate.
Nichols portrayed 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 appeared in some of the later “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 said they will remain Nichols’ temporary co-conservators at least until Sept. 19.
But Fawcette, who stated in her court papers that she met Nichols in 2012 while casting a film, says her friend does not need a conservator and that she can still perform such routine tasks as showering, dressing, putting on makeup and traveling to conventions without assistance. Meanwhile, Johnson has filed court papers asking that he be named the permanent conservator of his mother’s person and that Marina del Rey psychologist B.J. Hawkins be appointed the permanent conservator of the actress’ estate to manage her financial matters. Most of Nichols’ assets are in her Woodland Hills home, which Johnson’s court papers state is worth nearly $2 million.
Jeffrey Shuwarger, Nichols’ court-appointed lawyer, stated in recent court papers that he visited the actress on Aug. 14. Nichols initially agreed only to her son’s appointment, but was more cautious about Hawkins, so a meeting with the psychologist was arranged six days later, according to Shuwarger’s court papers.
Nichols later agreed to have Hawkins come on board, Shuwarger’s court papers state.
“She appeared to make a good connection with Dr. Hawkins and said she liked her,’’ according to Shuwarger, who also states in his court papers that he favors the two appointments.
A hearing on the Johnson-Hawkins appointments is scheduled Nov. 8. Nichols said she did not want to go to court, but would do so if necessary, according to Shuwarger’s court papers.