George Takei
Name at BirthHosato Takei
BornApril 20, 1937
BirthplaceLos Angeles, California, U.S.
Alma materUniversity of California, Los Angeles
DegreeLos Angeles High School
OccupationActor, author, and voice artist
SpouseBrad Takei

George Hosato Takei Altman (born April 20, 1937) is an American actor, best known for his role in the television series Star Trek, in which he played Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701. He is an outspoken proponent of gay rights and active in state and local politics as well as continuing his acting career. He has won several awards and accolades in his work on human rights and Japanese-American relations, including his work with the Japanese American National Museum.

Early life

George Takei in 1996

In 1942, the Takei family was sent to the Rohwer War Relocation Center for Japanese American internment in Arkansas.[1] The family was later transferred to the Tule Lake War Relocation Center in California. Despite this experience, the family developed a renewed dedication and remained involved in the American democratic process. He and his family returned to Los Angeles at the end of World War II. He attended Mount Vernon Junior High School, where he served as student body president, and Los Angeles High School. He enrolled in the University of California at Berkeley where he studied architecture. Later he attended the University of California at Los Angeles, where he received a bachelor of arts in theater in 1960 and a Master of Arts in theater in 1964. He attended the Shakespeare Institute at Stratford-Upon-Avon in England, and Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan. In Hollywood, he studied acting at the Desilu Workshop.[2] Takei is fluent in English, Japanese, and Spanish.


Takei began his career in Hollywood in the late 1950s, at a time when Asian faces were rarely seen on television and movie screens. His first role was providing voiceover for several characters in the English dub of the Japanese monster film Rodan, followed by an appearance in the Emmy award winning television series Playhouse 90. Takei subsequently appeared alongside such actors as Richard Burton in Ice Palace, Jeffrey Hunter in Hell to Eternity, Alec Guinness in A Majority of One, James Caan in Red Line 7000 and Cary Grant in Walk Don't Run. He played Captain Nim, an Army of the Republic of Vietnam LLDB (Luc Luong Dac Biet- Special Forces) officer alongside John Wayne's character in the 1968 Vietnam War era film, The Green Berets. He starred in The Encounter, a controversial episode of the Emmy Award winning television show The Twilight Zone.

He had an uncredited role in the 1963 film PT-109 as the helmsman who steers the Japanese destroyer over John F. Kennedy's PT-109. He appeared in Walk Don't Run (1966) with Cary Grant and Samantha Eggar, and starred in an episode of Mission: Impossible during that show's first season in 1966. He also appeared in two Jerry Lewis comedies, The Big Mouth and Which Way to the Front?

Star Trek

In 1965, he met with producer Gene Roddenberry, who cast him as Mr. Sulu in the second Star Trek pilot and eventually the Star Trek television series. While working on the show he appeared as Captain Nim in The Green Berets. It was intended that Sulu's role be expanded in the second season, but due to Takei's part in Green Berets, he only appeared in half the season, with his role being filled by Walter Koenig as Pavel Chekov. When Takei returned, the two had to share a dressing room and a single episode script.[3] Takei admitted in an interview that he initially felt threatened by Walter's presence, but later grew to be friends with him as the image of the officers sharing the ship's helm panel side-by-side became iconic.

Takei is one of a number of Star Trek supporting cast members who had publicized difficulties with William Shatner.[4][5][6][7] However, in an interview in the 2004 DVD set for the second season of Star Trek: The Original Series, 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 James T. Kirk the way Bill did. His energy and his determination, that's Bill. And that's also Captain Kirk." He appeared alongside Shatner on the Comedy Central Roast of William Shatner in which the two mocked each other in good humor and embraced, Takei noting that he was "honored" to be there "despite our past tensions".

In a radio interview on The Adam Carolla Show on June 19, 2008, Takei implied that part of his problems with Shatner began when he came out of the closet for the first time and his sexuality was accepted by almost everyone on the cast and crew of Star Trek—except Shatner himself. Shatner was a guest on the same radio show some weeks prior, and for his part expressed complete bewilderment as to why George Takei has such difficulties with him; according to Shatner, he has asked Takei repeatedly over the years to discuss his differences with him, but has been repeatedly rebuffed.

Personal life

George Takei on the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Pride 2006

In October 2005, Takei revealed in an issue of Frontiers magazine that he is gay and has been in a committed relationship with his partner, Brad Altman, for the last eighteen 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."[8] Nevertheless, Takei's sexuality had been an open secret among Star Trek fans since the 1970s, and Takei did not conceal his active membership in LGBT organizations including Frontrunners where he developed public friendships with fellow Frontrunners Kevin Norte and his partner Don Norte prior to Takei's coming out in 2005.[9][10] In an on-air telephone interview with Howard Stern, in December 2005, Takei explained, "[LGBT people] are masculine, we are feminine, we are caring, we are abusive. We are just like straight people, in terms of our outward appearance and our behavior. The only difference is that we are oriented to people of our own gender." Takei also described Altman as "a saint" for helping to take care of Takei's terminally ill mother.

Takei currently serves as a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign "Coming Out Project." In 2006 he embarked on a nationwide "Equality Trek" speaking tour sharing his life as a gay Japanese American, his eighteen year relationship with Altman, Frontrunners, and Star Trek, encouraging others to share their own personal stories.[11][12] In the wake of the 2007 controversy over ex-NBA player Tim Hardaway's anti-gay statements, Takei recorded a public service announcement (PSA) which began as a serious message of tolerance, then turned the tables on Hardaway by proclaiming that while he may hate gay people, they love him and other "sweaty basketball players." This was aired on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Takei also appeared on the Google float at San Francisco Pride 2007.[13]

On May 16, 2008, Takei announced that he and Brad Altman would be getting married. On June 17, shortly after Takei and Altman obtained their marriage license, they spread the news by holding a press conference outside the West Hollywood city auditorium.[14] They were married on September 14, 2008 at the Democracy Forum of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles (Takei is one of the founders).[15] Walter Koenig was his best man, and Nichelle Nichols was the matron of Honor. Reverend William Briones of the Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple of Los Angeles presided over the ceremony.[16] William Shatner has stated that he was not invited to the wedding. Takei claims Shatner was invited, but did not RSVP.[17] Takei's friend, author Peter David, corroborated Takei's account, relating a conversation he had with the couple the previous July in which both Takei and Altman stated their intention to invite Shatner.[18] During the December 26, 2009 episode of the NPR radio program Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me, Takei repeated his assertion that Shatner had been invited and did not respond to the invitation.

Takei's marriage is one of thousands of same-sex marriages that took place at a time when same-sex marriage was legal in California. The California Supreme Court ruled that Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in California, did not affect Takei's marriage and all other same-sex marriages that were entered into before its passing.

Takei and Altman appeared in a celebrity edition of The Newlywed Game TV show, which the GSN cable network aired October 13, 2009. They were the first same-sex couple to be featured on the show.[19] Takei and Altman won the game, winning $10,000 for their charity, the Japanese American National Museum.

It was announced on November 26, 2009 that Takei & Altman will be appearing in the British Game Show All Star Mr & Mrs becoming the second same-sex couple to appear on that show.

Awards and recognition

In 2004, the government of Japan conferred the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, which represents the fourth highest of eight classes associated with the award. This decoration was presented in acknowledgment of his contributions to U.S.-Japanese relations.[20]

Asteroid 7307 Takei is named in his honor.[21]

(7307) Takei = 1994 GT9 Discovered 1994 Apr. 13 by Y. Shimizu and T. Urata at Nachi-Katsuura. George Takei (b. 1937) is an actor best known for his role as Mr. Sulu in the original Star Trek television series. He also has a lengthy record of public service through his involvement with organizations such as the Japanese American Citizens League and the Human Rights Campaign. The name was suggested by T. H. Burbine.

Upon learning of the decision to name the asteroid after him, he said, "I am now a heavenly body. ... I found out about it yesterday. ... I was blown away. It came out of the clear, blue sky—just like an asteroid."[22]


  • Takei, George (1994). To the Stars: The Autobiography of George Takei. New York: Pocket Books. ISBN 0-671-89008-5. 
  • Takei, George; Asprin, Robert (1979). Mirror Friend, Mirror Foe. Chicago: Playboy. ISBN 0872165817. 


  1. 2004 Annual Report (PDF). Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation (2004). Retrieved on 2007-10-02.
  2. George Takei Biography. George Takei. Retrieved on 2007-02-05.
  3. William Shatner's Star Trek Memories - documentary film, released 1995.
  4. William Shatner & Chris Kreski (1989) Star Trek Memories. New York: Harper Paperbacks ISBN 0061664693
  5. George Takei (2007) To the Stars: The Autobiography of George Takei, Star Trek's Mr. Sulu. Hollywood: Start Trek ISBN 0671890093
  6. Interview with George Takei by Howard Stern on The Howard Stern Show 2009-07-27.
  7. Interview with George Takei by Gary Dell'Abate on The Wrap-up Show 2009-07-27.
  8. "Star Trek star George Takei comes out", The Advocate, 28 October 2005. Retrieved on 2007-02-02. 
  9. Linc Madison View profile More options. George Takei - soc.motss. Retrieved on 2010-04-09.
  10. "FRONTIERS Passion Play", = October, 2005. 
  11. George Takei US Tour. Human Rights Campaign. Retrieved on 2007-02-05.
  12. Will O'Bryan. "Beam Me Out!: George Takei's Tales from Sulu to Stern", Metro Weekly, 10 January 2008. Retrieved on 2008-03-13. 
  13. Nick Denton. "Sulu joins the Starship Google", Valleywag, 24 June 2007. Retrieved on 2007-07-08. 
  14. "George Takei of ’Star Trek’ gets marriage license", Boston Herald, 17 June 2008. Retrieved on 2008-06-17. 
  15. “Wed Me Up Scotty!” George Takei Weds. AsianWeek. Retrieved on 2008-09-15.
  16. Michael weinfeld. "George Takei and partner plan to wed in September", 5 June 2008. Retrieved on 2008-10-24. 
  17. "Shatner upset Takei didn't invite him to wedding", Associated Press, 22 October 2008. Retrieved on 2008-10-22. 
  18. Peter David. "Shat Slinging"; October 23, 2008
  19. [1]
  20. You must specify title = and url = when using {{cite web}}.. Retrieved on 2010-04-09.
  21. NASA reference:
  22. Tattle | Mr. Sulu makes a name for himself in space | Philadelphia Daily News | 10/03/2007

External links

Wikipedialogo.png This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at George Takei. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.. As with LGBT Info, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0.