George Takei

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George Hosato Takei (born April 20, 1937 in Los Angeles, California) is a Japanese-American actor. He is most famous for his role in the TV series Star Trek, in which he played the helmsman Hikaru Sulu on the USS Enterprise.

George Takei at a Sci-Fi Convention with a fan
George Takei at an Orlando, Florida Star Trek convention in 1987

Early life

In 1942 the Takei family was sent to an internment camp in Arkansas. Despite this experience his family developed a renewed dedication to remain involved in the American democratic process. He and his family returned to Los Angeles at the end of World War II, where he became politically active and eventually served 11 years on the board of directors of the Southern California Rapid Transit District, making him part of the team that initiated and planned the Los Angeles subway system.

In Hollywood during the 1960s he pursued his ambition to be an actor at a time when Asian faces were rarely seen on television and movie screens; Takei appeared alongside such actors as Richard Burton in Ice Palace (1960), Alec Guinness in A Majority of One (1962), and Cary Grant in Walk Don't Run (1966).

Star Trek

In 1966 he met with young producer named Gene Roddenberry who cast him as Mr. Sulu on the television series Star Trek. While working on the show he appeared as Captain Nim in the John Wayne film The Green Berets (1968).

George Takei has since appeared in numerous TV and film productions, including the first six Star Trek motion pictures, and today is a regular on the sci-fi convention circuit throughout the world. He has also acted and provided voice acting for several science fiction computer games, including Freelancer and numerous Star Trek games.

Takei had a long running feud with William Shatner. He openly despised Shatner, making public statements on radio shows, especially the Howard Stern Show. He based his contempt on Shatner's alleged on-set behavior during the filming of the Star Trek TV series and movies. Takei accused Shatner of showboating, stealing lines, and trying to keep other actors (including Takei) in the background. Takei also believed that Shatner was personally responsible for Mr. Sulu's slow rank advancement in the fictional Starfleet. Some of these criticisms were also voiced by his Star Trek colleague, the late James Doohan. However, in an interview in the 2004 DVD set of "Star Trek: The Original Series": The Complete Second Season, Takei appears to have settled things with Shatner. He says, "He's just a wonderful actor who created a singular character. No one could have done Captain Kirk the way Bill did. His energy and his determination, that's Bill. And that's also Captain Kirk."

Later life

In November 2004, was awarded The Order of the Rising Sun from Emperor Akihito for his contributions to U.S.-Japanese relations.

In October 2005, Takei revealed in an issue of Frontiers magazine [1] that he is gay and has been in a committed relationship with his partner, Brad Altman, for the last 18 years. He said "It's not really coming out, which suggests opening a door and stepping through. It's more like a long, long walk through what began as a narrow corridor that starts to widen." [2][3] Nevertheless, Takei's sexuality had long been an open secret among Trek fans, and Takei did not conceal his active membership in gay organizations.

His beloved dog, a Papillon named La Reine Blanche (The White Queen) passed away in 2005.

Selected filmography


  • To the Stars: The Autobiography of George Takei: Star Trek's Mr Sulu. New York: Pocket Books, 1994, ISBN 0671890085.


External links

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