“I went to school in a black tar-paper barrack (as a child in internment camps) and began the day seeing the barbed-wire fence and thank God those barbed-wire fences are now long gone for Japanese Americans. But I still see an invisible, legalistic barbed-wire that keeps me, my partner of 19 years, Brad Altman, and another group of Americans separated from a normal life. That’s what I’ve been advocating on the Human Rights Campaign Equality Tour. I call it the ‘Equality Trek.’” George Takei
Japanese-American character actor George Takei became a household name for playing Mr. Sulu on the cult sci-fi TV hit “Star Trek” (NBC, 1966-69) and the first six feature films: Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan (1982), Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984), Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986), Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989) and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991). He is also known for playing Diem on the popular series “General Hospital” (1985) and Reverend Daniel Tanaka in “The Young and the Restless” (2003), and more recently, portrayed Hiro Nakamura’s father on three episodes of “Heroes” (2007). Takei’s films credits include Ice Palace (1960), The Green Berets (1968), Return to the River Kwai (1989), Oblivion (1994), Oblivion 2: Backlash (1996), Who Gets the House (1999), Mulan (1998), Noon Blue Apples (2002) and Finishing the Game (2007).
“The world has changed from when I was a young teen feeling ashamed for being gay. The issue of gay marriage is now a political issue. That would have been unthinkable when I was young.” George Takei
In 2005, Takei disclosed his homosexuality in the Los Angeles magazine Frontiers, and has been with his partner, Brad Altman, for many years. A resident of Los Angeles, Takei has been a devoted long-distance runner since his high school cross-country team days. He has run several marathons and carried the Olympic Flame in the Los Angeles Olympic Torch Relay in 1984. Also a civic and political activist, Takei ran for the 1973 Los Angeles City Council, but lost to Mayor Tom Bradley. After the electoral race, Bradley appointed him to the board of directors of the Southern California Rapid Transit District, in which he served until 1984 and participated in plans for the subway.
An accomplished writer, Takei released an autobiography, “To the Stars” in 1994, which was well-received by more than just Star Trek admirers. He also has co-written the science-fiction novel “Mirror Friend, Mirror Foe” (1979) with Robert Asprin. A multi-talented star, Takei has been inducted into Hollywood Boulevard’s Walk of Fame and has left his signature and hand print in cement at the Chinese Theater.
Childhood and Family:
In Los Angeles, California, George Hosato Takei was born on April, 20 1937. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, George and his family were moved from Los Angeles to Rowar, an internment camp in Arkansas, and as the war was ending, they were transferred to a camp at Tule Lake in northern California. They returned to Los Angeles at the end of World War II.
George graduated from Los Angeles High School in 1956 and then attended the University of California at Berkeley, California, where he studied architecture. He transferred to UCLA as a theater arts major and earned his B.A degree in 1960. George also spent a summer studying at the Shakespeare Institute at Stratford-Upon-Avon in England and in 1964, he received a Master’s degree from UCLA.
George Takei entered the world of acting during his college years and made his debut when he was recruited to re-dub Japanese dialogue from the Japanese monster movie classic Rodan (1956) into English, where he voiced eight separate characters. He went on to make his TV guest starring debut in an episode of the anthology drama “Playhouse 90” (1959), where he appeared as a disillusioned soldier in postwar Japan. After being discovered by a Warner Bros. casting director in a UCLA theater production, he got his Hollywood breakthrough by landing his first film role in Ice Palace, a 1960 drama starring Richard Burton.
More parts in movies like in “Red Line 7000 (1965), An American Dream (1966) and The Green Berets (1968), as well as guest starring roles on television, including “Hawaiian Eye” (1960), “The Twilight Zone” (1964), “I Spy” (1965), “Mister Roberts” (1965) and “The Wackiest Ship in the Army” (1965-1966), kept Takei busy during the 1960s. However, Takei did not achieve prominence until producer Gene Roddenberry cast him in the role of chief navigator Hikaru Sulu on the original Star Trek television series from 1966 to 1969.
After the Sci-fi series left the airwaves, Takei had a number of guest roles on TV shows and supplied the voice of Sulu for the animated Star Trek series (1973). Additionally, he hosted and produced a public affairs show called “Expression East/West,” which was broadcasted in Los Angeles during 1971-1973. He returned to his role of Sulu in 1979 in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, which was followed by Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan in 1982 and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock in 1984. In the mid 1980s, Takei’s television career again received a boost when he joined the cast of the long-running medical series “General Hospital,” playing Diem, and guest starred on such shows as “MacGyver” (1986), “Murder, She Wrote” and “Miami Vice” (both 1987). He also lent his voice for the TV series “Jonny Quest” (1987). As for film, Takei found himself acting in two Star Trek movies, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) and Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989), and playing one of the leading roles, Lt. Tanaka, in the war movie Return to the River Kwai (1989).
Takei’s last film as Mr. Sulu came in 1991 with Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, and he did not play the role again until five years later when his character was invited to make guest appearances in the installment series “Star Trek: Voyager.” In between, Takei costarred as Doc Valentine on Oblivion (1994) and its 1996 sequel Oblivion 2: Backlash. Next, he portrayed Mr. Yamanaka on the made-for-TV film The Best Bad Thing (1997), teamed up with Lana McKissack for the indie-film The Magic Pearl (1997), supported Randy Quaid and Katherine Heigl in the action film Bug Buster (1998) and appeared as Elliott in the comedy Who Gets the House (1999). He also voiced First Ancestor in the Disney animated feature Mulan (1998) and Mr. Fixx in the animated Batman Beyond: The Movie (1999).
A veteran of television guest roles, Takei continued to appear in episodes of “The Chronicle” (2001), “Son of the Beach” (2002), “Samurai Jack” (2002), “Scrubs” (2004), “Kim Possible“ (2003-2005), “Malcolm in the Middle” (2006), “Freddie” (2006), and more recently, “Cory in the House” and “Heroes” (both 2007). He appeared as himself in “The Bronx Bunny Show” (2003), starred as Reverend Daniel Tanaka in “The Young and the Restless” (2003) and returned to the Star Trek series after several years of hiatus in “Star Trek: New Voyages” (2004). He also acted in such films as Noon Blue Apples (2002), DC 9/11: Time of Crisis (2003, TV), The Eavesdropper (2004), A.I. Assault (2006, TV) and Finishing the Game (2007), starring Roger Fan.
Recently, Takei voiced Seventh Samurai on the animated television series “El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera,” which debuted on March 2. He is scheduled to appear in the comedy/drama movie The Great Buck Howard (2007), opposite John Malkovich, Emily Blunt, Tom Hanks and Colin Hanks.