Subject of Theodore Melfi’s “Hidden Figures” (2016) dead at 101

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Best Supporting Actress nominee Octavia Spencer co-stars as mathematician Dorothy Vaughn, and Janelle Monae, as engineer Mary Jackson. (Image Courtesy: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution).

NASA scientist Katherine Johnson, who was played by Taraji P. Henson in Theodore Melfi’s Hidden Figures (2016), has died at 101 years old, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. One of the first black women to work as a NASA scientist, almost no one outside of the agency knew who she was until the release of Hidden Figures, even though Johnson helped calculate the trajectory for spaceflights during the 1960s space race with Russia, including the moon landing. Hidden Figures was nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and Johnson received a standing ovation when she appeared onstage with the cast.