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George Takei

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George Takei
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George Takei

Birth name: George Hosato Takei
Date of birth: 20 April 1937
Place of birth: Los Angeles, California, USA
Character(s): Hikaru Sulu
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George Hosato Takei (pronounced "Ta-Kay") (born 20 April 1937; age 77) is a Japanese-American actor best known for his role as Hikaru Sulu in the Star Trek franchise.

He debuted as Sulu in the second pilot of the original series, "Where No Man Has Gone Before", with his character making the transition from the physics department to the helm by the next episode, "The Corbomite Maneuver". In total, he appeared in 51 of the 79 original series episodes.

He later voiced Sulu in the animated series and displayed his vocal talents playing other guest characters. He then reprised the role in the first six Star Trek motion pictures, and "Flashback", an episode of Star Trek: Voyager.

He has both narrated and recorded dialog as Sulu in numerous audio novels and interactive games. Due to the fact that Sulu did not appear in the episode "The Trouble with Tribbles" (he was filming The Green Berets at the time), Takei was the only Original Series star not to appear in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 30th anniversary episode "Trials and Tribble-ations". He did, however, appear as Captain Sulu in Star Trek: Voyager's 30th anniversary episode, "Flashback".

Takei most recently played Sulu in an episode of the fan films Star Trek: New Voyages entitled "World Enough and Time", which premiered in 2007 and featured fellow Trek performers Grace Lee Whitney, Majel Barrett Roddenberry, James Cawley, Jeffery Quinn, and John Carrigan. The episode was directed by Marc Scott Zicree and written by Zicree and Michael Reaves. Stuntman Tom Morga worked as fencing coach for Takei while stunt coordinator Leslie Hoffman served as his personal assistant.

Issue 356 of Starburst Magazine stated that Takei would be appearing in 2009's Star Trek, directed and produced by J.J. Abrams. The magazine claimed that Takei would be featured in a "flash forward sequence" with Leonard Nimoy. [1] TrekMovie.com subsequently confirmed this to be false. [2]

Personal Edit

Takei was born in Los Angeles, California, on 20 April 1937. According to Takei on the 9 January 2006 airing of The Howard Stern Show, he was named after King George VI, who had just become king of the United Kingdom.

In 1942, Takei and his family were interned by the United States at the Rohwer War Relocation Center in Arkansas, along with many other Japanese-Americans. They were later sent to the Tule Lake War Relocation Center in California and returned to Los Angeles after World War II. Takei discussed this experience in a 1996 interview, stating:

World War II for Americans of Japanese ancestry was one of the most anguishing tests of the meaning of citizenship. To be imprisoned in barbed wire camps by your own government for no other reason than that you are descended from a nation with which your country is at war was one of the most trying and enraging experiences anyone could go through. I still marvel at that amazing generation of Japanese Americans who put on the uniforms of their jailer to fight with such extraordinary valor for the fundamental ideals of this country. I know the value of my American citizenship because I'm aware of the incredibly high price that has been paid for it. [X]wbm

Takei was educated at Mount Vernon Junior High School (where he served as student body president) and Los Angeles High School. He attended the University of California in Berkeley but transferred to the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA), where he began studying theater. He earned a bachelor of arts in theater from UCLA in 1960, followed by a master of arts in theater four years later. After attending the Shakespeare Institute in England and the Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan, he returned to the States where he studied acting at the Desilu Workshop.

Takei has been with his husband, Brad Altman, since 1988, having met at a gay and lesbian running and walking club. On 28 October 2005, Takei decided to publicly "come out of the closet" as gay, though this had been open information for some time. The story was widely reported in the media and was hailed by LGBT communities as a positive step for the larger gay community as well as for Star Trek.

Takei and Altman currently reside in Los Angeles, California. In 2008, following the California Supreme Court's decision to overturn a ruling which banned same-sex marriages in the state, Takei announced that he and Altman were engaged to be married. [3][4][5] Takei and Altman married in the Democracy Forum at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, California on 14 September 2008. Takei's TOS co-stars Walter Koenig and Nichelle Nichols were Takei's best man and "best lady", respectively. [6] Leonard Nimoy and his wife, Susan Bay, were among the invited guests. [7] Takei claimed to have invited his co-star William Shatner, for whom he'd had bitter feelings for years. Shatner remarked that he never received an invitation and lashed out at Takei, calling him a "poor man" and accusing him of having a "psychosis". The two have been feuding in the press since. [8][9][10]

Early career Edit

Takei's show business career began when he answered a newspaper advertisement for voice casting in 1957 and was hired to dub Japanese dialog for the "monster movie" Rodan into English. He voiced eight different characters in the film. Shortly thereafter, he did voice dubbing for another Japanese monster movie, Gigantis the Fire Monster (also known as Godzilla Raids Again).

Two years later, Takei made his acting debut on live television, appearing in an episode of Playhouse 90 with Dean Stockwell, which was followed by an appearance on Perry Mason. That same year, he acted in his first film, the drama Ice Palace. He soon after made an uncredited appearance in the war film Never So Few (which also featured Whit Bissell and John Hoyt), although this film was actually released a month before Ice Palace. This was followed with a role in Hell to Eternity, a film starring Jeffrey Hunter, the man originally destined to play the captain of the Enterprise on Star Trek.

Takei went on to appear in the films A Majority of One (1961, with Madlyn Rhue), PT 109 (starring James Gregory), and Morituri (with Roy Jenson). He had supporting roles in 1965's Red Line 7000 (co-starring Marianna Hill) and 1966's Walk Don't Run (starring Samantha Eggar, with an appearance by Miko Mayama) and An American Dream, as well as uncredited roles in the 1966 Matt Helm caper Murderers' Row (with James Gregory) and Jerry Lewis' 1967 comedy The Big Mouth.

In addition, he made guest appearances on numerous television programs, including The Twilight Zone, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, My Three Sons, I Spy (including an episode with John Abbott and Roger C. Carmel), and Mission: Impossible (with Eddie Paskey and Barry Russo). It was around this time that Takei was cast as Sulu for the original Star Trek series.

Takei took leave from Star Trek to film a supporting role in the popular Vietnam War film The Green Berets. The filming of that movie, however, went over schedule and Takei was forced to miss work on a number of Star Trek episodes in the second season – most notable "The Trouble with Tribbles," in which Sulu was to have a "substantial role." His lines in the episode were given to Walter Koenig, the actor playing Pavel Chekov. [X]wbm

After Star Trek Edit

Following Star Trek's cancellation in 1969, Takei appeared in another Jerry Lewis comedy, Which Way to the Front?, released in 1970. He appeared on a number of television shows, as well, including Ironside, Kung Fu, Baa Baa Black Sheep (starring John Larroquette and James Whitmore, Jr.), an episode of The Six Million Dollar Man with France Nuyen and Alan Oppenheimer, an episode of Hawaii Five-O with John Colicos, and an episode of Hallmark Hall of Fame with Adrienne Barbeau. In 1979, he and his fellow Star Trek castmates brought their characters to the big screen in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

In 2004, he was in the commentary booth to record commentary alongside the cast of Invader ZIM; the episode with his commentary is the first one, The Nightmare Begins.

Takei would go on to star in five more Star Trek films. His other credits throughout the years include guest spots on MacGyver (in an episode co-produced and co-written by Stephen Kandel), Murder, She Wrote, Miami Vice, Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, and 3rd Rock from the Sun ("I'm George Takei, dammit!"). He also starred in films like Return from the River Kwai, Prisoners of the Sun (co-starring Terry O'Quinn), Live by the Fist, and the science fiction westerns Oblivion, and Oblivion 2: Backlash. The latter two films – in which Takei plays the role of "Doc Valentine" – also stars the likes of Meg Foster, Julie Newmar, Jimmie F. Skaggs, Carel Struycken, and Musetta Vander. The 1998 B-grade movie Bug Buster featured both Takei and his former Star Trek co-star James Doohan, but the two did not share any scenes together.

Takei's more recent acting work includes the 2003 TV movie DC 9/11: Time of Crisis (co-starring fellow Trek alumni Gregory Itzin, Penny Johnson, Stephen Macht, Lawrence Pressman, and Allan G. Royal) and the 2006 direct-to-DVD release A.I. Assault (co-starring Michael Dorn, Lisa LoCicero, Bill Mumy, Robert Picardo, and Terrell Tilford), as well as guest spots on shows like The Young and the Restless, Will & Grace, and Scrubs. He also participated in the short film Roddenberry on Patrol, a comic look at Gene Roddenberry's creation of Star Trek directed by Tim Russ and co-starring Russ, Robert Beltran, Richard Herd, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, Robert O'Reilly, Ethan Phillips, and Robert Picardo.

In addition, Takei, known for his deep, low voice, has done voice-overs for a number of animated productions and video games. For Disney, he voiced the "First Ancestor" in 1998's Mulan (also featuring the voices of Miguel Ferrer and Frank Welker), a role Takei would reprise in the 2005 direct-to-video sequel. Takei also provided the voice of Master Sensei in the Disney Channel series Kim Possible. Ricardo Montalban also had a recurring role on the series, and other Trek performers who appeared in the same episodes as Takei included John Cho and Clancy Brown. In 2009, Takei also voiced "Lok Durd" in two episodes of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars TV series, becoming the first main Star Trek cast member to participate in a Star Wars production. [11]

Futurama - Bender's Game - Takei and Bakula

Takei in Bender's Game

Takei has also supplied voice-overs for Hey, Arnold!, Batman Beyond (with Sherman Howard), The Brak Show, the video game Freelancer, various episodes of The Simpsons, and Avatar: The Last Airbender, among many other projects. Perhaps most notably, Takei and many of his Star Trek castmates voiced parodies of themselves in the Futurama episode "Where No Fan Has Gone Before". Takei also appeared in the direct-to-DVD Futurama movie, Bender's Game, and in the 2010 Futurama episode "Proposition Infinity", in which he served as a moderator in a debate on the aforementioned proposition which would legalize robosexual (humanoid/robot) marriages.

On 9 January 2006, Takei was named the official announcer of Sirius Satellite Radio's The Howard Stern Show. He has been a semi-regular on the show ever since. In addition, Takei has served as guest narrator for several symphony orchestras, the most recent being the Seattle Symphony Orchestra's Sci-Fi Favorites concert in September 2007.

Takei had a recurring role on the NBC series Heroes, playing Kaito Nakamura, the father of time-traveling Trekkie Hiro Nakamura. As an in-joke, Kaito's car's license plate is NCC-1701. Among the other Star Trek actors who performed in the series are Joanna Cassidy, Michael Dorn, Greg Grunberg, Dominic Keating, Malcolm McDowell, Zachary Quinto, and Christine Rose; Takei's Star Trek co-star Nichelle Nichols appeared in the show's second season.

On April 08, 2008 George appeared on Secret Talents of the Stars, a celebrity talent competition series which lasted for one episode on CBS. On the show, he publicly expressed his hidden, "secret" interest and talent in country singing, going on to train with Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry, whom he found out are both Star Trek fans. Takei then performed on the show.

Also in early April, Takei filmed a "last minute cameo" for the Adam Sandler comedy You Don't Mess with the Zohan. He also plays a "snooty maître d'" in the comedy American Summer, from the producer of the American Pie films. [12] In addition, he recently co-starred with John Savage in the action film The Red Canvas.

Takei appeared in the 2008 video game Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3. In the first episode of the game show Wanna Bet? (broadcast 21 July 2008), Takei won $106,150 for his charity: The Japanese American National Museum. He was also a contestant in the 2008 series of I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here.

Takei's most recent film roles are in the Tom Hanks starred and directed comedy Larry Crowne teamed with Margot Farley and Holmes R. Osborne and the drama Strange Fame:Love & Sax with Michael Dorn and Ron Glass. In September 2010, Takei performed in a benefit for the Washington Shakespeare Company, in which excerpts from Hamlet and Much Ado About Nothing were performed in Klingon. [13]

Takei was one of the contestants on the seventh season of Celebrity Apprentice, appearing in 14 episodes.

As of August 2012, Takei is in filming for the second season of Supah Ninjas on Nickelodeon, playing the Grandfather and his evil twin, Kagema Fukanaga. A premiere date has not been announced. He is also currently in rehearsal for the new musical Allegiance, in which he stars as Old Sam Kimura and Ojii-san. The play opens on September 7 at The Old Globe in San Diego, CA.

Politics and activism Edit

In 1973, while the animated Star Trek series was on the air, Takei ran for and narrowly lost a seat on the Los Angeles City Council. He ultimately chose to continue acting rather than to pursue a political career, though he would remain involved in civic affairs.

Takei served on the Southern California Rapid Transit District's board of directors from 1973 through 1984. He also once served as a vice president of the American Public Transit Association and served two terms on the board of the Japan-United States Friendship Commission, a position bestowed upon him by then-President of the United States, Bill Clinton.

He currently serves as chair of the council of governors of East West Players, America's foremost Asian Pacific American theater. He is also chairman emeritus of the Japanese American National Museum's board of trustees and was once a member of the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program's advisory committee. In addition, he is a member of the board of directors of the United States-Japan Bridging Foundation.

Takei is also a member of the Human Rights Campaign and was a spokesman for the organization's Coming Out Project. In April 2006, Takei spoke about being a gay Japanese American to audiences nationwide during a tour he called "Equality Trek".

Takei joined the many celebrities who took to protesting actor/comedian Tracy Morgan. Morgan onstage doing a stand-up routine, made several homophobic statements. Takei publicly declared Morgan, "A sad, sad man!". [14]

Awards and honors Edit

Takei received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1986. The following year, he and Leonard Nimoy shared a Grammy Award nomination in the "Best Spoken Word or Non-Musical Recording" category for the audio version of the adaptation of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

In 1991, Takei received the honor of placing his hand-prints and signature in front of Grauman's Chinese Theater.

Emperor Akihito of Japan conferred Takei with the Order of the Rising Sun 4th Class, Gold Rays with Rosette in recognition of his work in Japan-United States relations.

Takei received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 8th Annual San Diego Asian Film Festival [15] in October 2007.

In 2007, the asteroid 7307 Takei was named for him, both in recognition for his work on Star Trek and also for his public service work. [16] [X]wbm [17]

On 29 June 2009, Takei received the Ivy Bethune Tri-Union Diversity Award for his outstanding support on issues of marriage equality and sexual orientation discrimination and for his work on the Arts in Transit program. Screen Actors Guild Magazine, Volume 50, No, 3, page 21

Credits Edit

As Hikaru Sulu Edit

As other characters Edit

Other media Edit

Books Edit

References Edit

External links Edit

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