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George Takei (1937)

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  Summary  

George Hosato Takei Altman is an American actor, best known for his role as Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the in the television series Star Trek. He is a 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.

  Biography  

 early life
Takei was born George Hosato Takei in Los Angeles, California, the son of Fumiko Emily (née Nakamura) and Takekuma Norman Takei, who worked in real estate. His parents were Japanese American. His father was an Anglophile, and named him George after George VI of the United Kingdom, whose coronation took place in 1937. In 1942, the Takei family was forced to live in the horse stables of Santa Anita Park before being sent to the Rohwer War Relocation Center for internment in Arkansas. The family was later transferred to the Tule Lake War Relocation Center in California. 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 was a member of Boy Scout Troop 379 of the Koyasan Buddhist Temple.

Upon graduation from high school Takei then enrolled in the University of California, Berkeley where he studied architecture. Later he attended the University of California, 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. Takei is fluent in English, Japanese and Spanish.

 early career
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 Japanese monster films such as Godzilla Raids Again and Rodan, followed by an appearance in the Emmy award winning television series Playhouse 90 and Perry Mason The Case of the Blushing Pearls. 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 ARVN 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 with Cary Grant and Samantha Eggar and he 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?

 later career
 The Howard Stern Show
Takei's first appearance on The Howard Stern Show was in late 1990 and was featured in The History of Howard Stern, a radio show documenting the life and career of Howard Stern. On September 27, 1994, Takei would appear via satellite feed to promote his book To the Stars.... Clips of Takei from his audio book and television interviews would later be played on the show, with prank calls and comedy bits being made using them.

On January 9, 2006 it was announced that Takei would be the new announcer for the show when it show moved to Sirius XM Radio. Takei sat in the studio for the first week of broadcasts, and to this day sits in for a week of shows every few months.

In June 2006, Takei accepted a Freedom of Speech Award on behalf of Stern, with the award being presented by Talkers Magazine. Takei was in the studio again for two days in late September 2006 where he discussed his participation in an episode of Star Trek: New Voyages as well as his participation in the film The Great Buck Howard. In a visit in December 2007, Stern stated that Takei was the only cast member who got universally positive feedback from audience e-mails; even listeners who claim to dislike Star Trek enjoy Takei's contributions. The show staff has stated that they like his upfront sense of humor and his willingness to talk about almost any issue openly and freely, particularly now that the show is uncensored on Sirius XM.

Takei has developed a friendly relationship with Stern cast member Artie Lange, whom Takei affectionately calls his "cuddly muffin." The two have become friends despite Lange's notorious penchant for his supposedly "homophobic" humor. Lange revealed on the air that George sent him a "lovely card" praising his guest performance on a 2007 episode of Entourage, in which Takei expressed the desire to one day act alongside Lange, and that the two talk at least once a week by telephone.

 I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!
Takei appeared on the 2008 season of the UK version of reality TV series I'm a Celebrity... Get Me out of Here! He lived in the Australian bush for 21 days and nights, doing tasks along with fellow campers in order to gain better meals and survive eviction from the show. His politeness and calmness made him popular with the other campers. Out of 15 participants the British public voted him into 3rd place behind 2nd placed Martina Navratilova and winner Joe Swash.

 personal life
In October 2005, Takei revealed in an issue of Frontiers magazine that he is gay and had been in a committed relationship with his partner, Brad Altman, for 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." 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 Kevin's partner Don Norte prior to coming out in 2005. In an on-air telephone interview with Howard Stern, in December 2005, Takei explained, " 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. In the wake of the 2007 controversy over ex-NBA player Tim Hardaway's anti-gay statements, Takei recorded a mock public service announcement which began as a serious message of tolerance, then turned the tables on Hardaway by proclaiming that while he may hate gay people, gay people 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.

On May 16, 2008, Takei announced that he and Brad Altman would be getting married. They were the first same-sex couple to apply for a marriage license in West Hollywood. 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. They were married on September 14, 2008 at the Democracy Forum of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, of which Takei is one of the founders. 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.

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 other same-sex marriages entered into before its passing on 4 November 2008.

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. Takei and Altman won the game, winning $10,000 for their charity, the Japanese American National Museum, for which Takei serves as a member of its board of trustees.

In February 2010 Takei and Altman became the second same-sex couple to appear on British game show All Star Mr & Mrs, losing to rugby star Phil Vickery and wife Kate.

In November 2010, George Takei released another PSA blasting former Arkansas school board member Clint McCance. In the video, Takei repeatedly calls McCance “a douche bag.” Takei's video was made as a response to McCance making blatantly homophobic remarks, stating that he “enjoys the fact that give each other AIDS and die.” McCance went on to encourage homosexuals to commit suicide, and stated that he would disown his children if they were gay. Clint McCance has since resigned from his job at the Arkansas school board. Takei, who has long been an advocate for gay rights and an active participant in LGBT organizations, has been praised for his in-your-face response to McCance and garnered much media attention with his most recent PSA.

Takei serves as chair of the Council of Governors of East West Players, considered the foremost Asian Pacific American theater in the United States.

In May 2011, in response to a Tennessee State Legislature bill that prohibited school teachers or students from using any language that alludes to the existence of homosexuality (the "Don't Say Gay" bill), George Takei released in which he offered up his name, suggesting that people could just substitute that for 'gay'. For example, they could support Takei Marriage or watch Takei Pride Parades; or even use slurs like That's so Takei.

Takei is a Buddhist.

Takei is an avid Anglophile. On his personal website he had this to say: 'Those who know me know that I am an inconvertible Anglophile – or more broadly, a Britanophile, which includes my affection for Scotland and Wales as well. I love things British. My car is British. My wardrobe, to a good extent, is British. I even love the food in London – I think British food has shaken its prevailing perception as indigestible and become quite wonderful. I try to get to Britain for holidays as often as I can. I love things British.'

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "George Takei", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.