Happy birthday George Takei!
George Takei (born April 20, 1937) is an American actor, best known for his portrayal of the character Mr. Sulu in Star Trek. He is an accomplished voice actor; he started out in Hollywood in the 1950s, recording the English dubbing of several Japanese monster films. He is an outspoken gay rights activist and has worked extensively on Japanese-American relations. He has been very active in politics, serving as an alternate delegate to the Democratic National Convention and losing a campaign for Los Angeles City Council by just 1,647 votes. Takei turns 76 today.
George Takei as a young boy, photographed while he and his family lived in the Rohwer War Relocation Center as part of the Japanese internement. Image source
Takei was born in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles to Fumiko Emily Nakamura and Takekuma Norman Takei, both Japanese-Americans who were born in Sacramento and San Francisco, respectively. In 1942, the Takeis were sent to live in the Rohwer War Relocation Center in Arkansas as part of Japanese internment. They were later sent to Tule Lake War Relocation Center. After returning to and attending middle school and high school in Los Angeles, Takei attended the University of California, Berkeley before completing his degree at the University of California, Los Angeles. There, he received both a Bachelor of Arts and a Masters of Arts in theater. He also studied acting in England and Japan.
His career began in the late 1950s when he recorded the English dubbing for Godzilla Raids Again and Rodan. He later appeared in Playhouse 90, Perry Mason: The Case of the Blushing Pearls, Mission: Impossible, The Big Mouth, and Which Way to the Front?
George Takei in Perry Mason: The Case of the Blushing Pearls. Image source
By 1965, he was cast as Hikaru Sulu in the second Star Trek pilot and later in the television series. He appeared in the first six Star Trek films. He has lent his voice to many Star Trek and other video games. In 2007, Takei reprised his role in Star Trek: Phase II, an internet-based, fan-created series.
George Takei as Hikaru Sulu. Image source
The 1970s were a political time for Takei. In 1972, he served as an alternate California delegate to the Democratic National Convention. In 1973, he ran for a seat on Los Angeles City Council and lost by just 1,647 votes. He was later appointed to the board of directors of Southern California Rapid Transit District, which went on to plan the Los Angeles subway system.
In 1979, Takei co-wrote the science fiction novel Mirror Friend, Mirror Foe with Robert Aspirin.
Since the 1970s, Takei has appeared on numerous television shows including Heroes, Will and Grace, Psych, Scrubs, The Big Bang Theory, and many others.
Takei has been very active in civic life. He was the founder of the Japanese American National Museum and has contributed greatly to remembering the Japanese American internment experience. Takei is openly gay and married his longtime partner Brad Altman in 2008 when gay marriage was legal in California before the passing of Prop 8. In November 2010, Takei denounced Clint McCance's homophobic remarks with a public service announcement that garnered significant attention.
Takei has garnered many awards, the most recent of which he received in June 2012–the LGBT Humanist Award.
George Takei with his husband, Brad Altman. Image source
- Birthday Date: Sunday, 20 April 2014