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Zoë Saldana (born 19 June 1978; age 46) is an American actress and model who played Nyota Uhura in Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness, and Star Trek Beyond. She also voiced the character for the 2013 Star Trek video game.

Saldana is pictured on cards #54 "Cadet N. Uhura" and #99 "Communications Officer N. Uhura" of the virtual collectible card battle game Star Trek: Rivals.

In addition to playing Uhura, Saldana is known for her roles as Na'vi princess Neytiri in Avatar (2004) and as Gamora in the films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, starting with 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy. As a cast member of both Avatar and Marvel's Avengers: Endgame (2019), Saldana holds the distinction of starring in the two highest-grossing films of all time. (Her co-stars in the latter film included Chris Hemsworth and Benedict Cumberbatch, whom she had previously co-starred with in Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness, respectively.)

Saldana is also recognized for her roles in such films as Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), The Terminal (2004), Guess Who (2005), The Losers (2010, alongside Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Idris Elba), Colombiana (2011), Live by Night (2016, with Titus Welliver), and I Kill Giants (2017, with Noel Clarke), as well as for voice-over roles in films like The Book of Life (2014, also featuring the voice of Ron Perlman) and Missing Link (2019).

Early life and career[]

Saldana was born Zoë Yadira Zaldaña Nazario in New Jersey to immigrants from the Dominican Republic and raised in Queens, New York. After her father's death in a car accident when she was nine, Saldana and her sisters moved with their mother to the Dominican Republic. [1]

While in the Republic, Saldana took ballet lessons. She ultimately returned to the United States and joined the Faces Theater Program in Brooklyn, New York. While there, she won an uncredited appearance in a 1999 episode of Law & Order, the long-running NBC series that was executive produced by Rene Balcer. She left the Faces program after making her feature film debut in Center Stage (2000, co-starring Star Trek: Insurrection actress Donna Murphy).

Film work[]


Following Center Stage, Saldana appeared in Get Over It (2001, with Ed Begley, Jr. and Kirsten Dunst). She then acted in with Kim Cattrall and Anson Mount in Crossroads (2002). That same year, she played the female lead in Drumline, for which she shared an MTV Movie Award nomination for Best Kiss with her co-star Nick Cannon.

Saldana next appeared as Anamarie in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003, with Lee Arenberg, Greg Ellis and Guy Siner). She then had a supporting role in The Terminal (2004), in which she played an airport immigration officer who happened to be a devout Trekkie. Jude Ciccolella and Michael Nouri also had roles in this film.


Zoe Saldana and Nichelle Nichols

Saldana with Nichelle Nichols, the original Nyota Uhura, on the set of Star Trek

In Constellation (2007), Saldana co-starred with fellow Star Trek players David Clennon, Alec Newman, Gabrielle Union, and Clarence Williams III). Later, Saldana starred in Guess Who (2005, co-starring Robert Curtis Brown). This role earned her nominations from at least four different organizations: the Black Movie Awards, the Black Reel Awards, the Image Awards, and the Teen Choice Awards.

Her subsequent film credits include Dirty Deeds (2005, with Michael Bofshever), Premium (2006, with William Sadler), Ways of the Flesh (2006, with Irene Tsu), and Blackout (2007, with Saul Rubinek). In 2008, she appeared in the thriller Vantage Point, which also featured Bruce McGill. The following year, she starred in The Skeptic.

Saldana was working on Avatar when J.J. Abrams offered her Star Trek. Because she was already committed to a project and had a "lack of knowledge about Star Trek," Saldana was reluctant to accept the role of Uhura. Despite the scheduling issues it would cause, Cameron insisted that Saldana take the role, even going so far as to invite Abrams to the set to discuss the situation. [2]

After finishing Star Trek, Saldana completed her work on Avatar, in which she starred as a Na'vi woman named Neytiri, a completely computer-generated character. Scott Lawrence and Peter Mensah also had roles in the film, while James Horner composed the score. Released in December 2009, Avatar is now the highest-grossing movie in the world (not accounting for inflation). Saldana has signed on to appear in any potential sequels to the film. [3] In 2010, she received a Saturn Award nomination for Best Actress for her performance in Avatar. [4] In addition, Saldana received nominations for Best Female Performance and Best Kiss, shared with Sam Worthington, at the 2010 MTV Movie Awards for her work on Avatar. [5] [6]

2010 and beyond[]

Saldana was seen in three major motion pictures released in 2010. The first was Death at a Funeral, which also featured Ron Glass. The week after Death at a Funeral was released, Saldana was seen in the action film The Losers. Based on the comic books published by DC Comics' Vertigo imprint, The Losers had Saldana starring opposite future Star Trek Beyond castmate Idris Elba and Star Trek: Enterprise guest actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan The third major 2010 film featuring Saldana, and the most popular at the box office, was the crime thriller Takers. In addition to those films, Saldana acted alongside Greg Grunberg in the short film Idiots and starred in Burning Palms (2010, co-starring Jason Brooks and Tom Wright).

More recently Saldana played the lead role, Cataleya Restrepo, in Colombiana (2011), for which she received nominations as Best Actress at the Image Awards and the Black Reel Awards. Petra Sprecher served as Saldana's stunt double in this film. Her co-stars included Cynthia Addai-Robinson, and Jordi Mollà, who was considered for the role of Khan Noonien Singh in Star Trek Into Darkness before the part went to Benedict Cumberbatch. [7]

In 2012, Saldana was seen in The Words, which also featured Michael McKean, followed by Blood Ties, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2013. She also appeared in Out of the Furnace (2013) and Bad Robot's Infinitely Polar Bear (2014, with executive producers J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk). She later starred as Nina Simone in Nina (2016, with Ronald Guttman).

In 2014, Saldana portrayed Gamora in Marvel Studios' Guardians of the Galaxy, co-starring Chris Pratt and featuring Gregg Henry and Stephen Blackehart. She reprised the role in the 2017 sequel Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and then in the Marvel films Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019). Both of these films also starred Benedict Cumberbatch and Chris Hemsworth, while the former featured her Star Trek Beyond co-star Idris Elba and the voice of Kenneth Branagh. Also in 2018, Saldana starred in the title role of the NBC remake of the thriller "Rosemary's Baby" costarring Jason Isaacs. The original featured in the cast, Gail Bonney and Elisha Cook.


Following her appearance on Law & Order, Saldana guest-starred in a 2004 episode of its spin-off series, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. In 2006, Saldana worked with Star Trek director and producer J.J. Abrams and executive producer Bryan Burk for the first time when she had a recurring role on the short-lived television series Six Degrees.

On 22 January 2010, Saldana participated in the fund-raising program Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief. She was among the celebrities who operated the phones for the benefit, along with her Star Trek co-stars Tyler Perry and Chris Pine, Star Trek: Voyager actress Jeri Ryan, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country actor Christian Slater, and Robin Williams. [8]

Saldana served as presenter for the categories Best Animated Short, Best Documentary Short, and Best Live Action Short at the 82nd Annual Academy Awards in 2010. Two films she was in, Star Trek and Avatar, were nominated in various categories at these awards.


In 2013, Saldana received a nomination at the Teen Choice Awards in the category Choice Summer Movie Star: Female for her appearance in Star Trek Into Darkness. [9] She previously received nominations in 2005, as Choice Movie Breakout Performance – Female for Guess Who, 2009, as Choice Movie Actress: Action Adventure for Star Trek, and 2010, as Choice Movie Actress: Action Adventure for The Losers and Choice Movie Actress: Comedy for Death at a Funeral and won Teen Choice Awards in 2010 in the category Choice Movie Actress: Sci-Fi for her work on Avatar and in 2012 in the category Choice Movie Actress: Action for Colombiana.

Her portrayal of Neytiri in Avatar also earned Saldana a Visual Effects Society Award in the category Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture in 2010, a SFX Award nomination for Best Actress in 2011, MTV Movie Award nominations in the categories Best Kiss and Best Female Performance in 2010, Blimp Award nominations in the categories Favorite Movie Actress and Cutest Couple at the 2010 Kid's Choice Awards, an Empire Award for Best Actress in 2010, 2010 nominations at the Image Awards, Black Reel Awards and BET Awards and a Saturn Award in 2010 as Best Actress.

For Star Trek, she received a 2009 ALMA Award nomination as Best Actress in Film, a Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Ensemble Cast in 2009, a Broadcast Film Critics Association Award nomination for Best Ensemble Acting in 2010, and a Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Award nomination for Best Ensemble in 2009.

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