Birthday: April 20, 1937
Age: 84 Years, 84 Year Old Males
Sun Sign: Taurus
Also Known As: George Hosato Takei, Hosato Takei
Born in: Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, California
Famous as: Actor, Activist
Height: 5'8" (173 cm), 5'8" Males
Spouse/Ex-: Brad Takei (m. 2008)
father: Takekuma Norman Takei
mother: Fumiko Emily Takei
U.S. State: California
City: Los Angeles
Notable Alumni: Sophia University
education: University of California - Los Angeles, University of California - Berkeley, Sophia University, Shakespeare Institute, Los Angeles High School
Who is George Takei?
George Takei is an American actor, director, author, and social activist. His biggest stint as an actor has been the role of ‘Hikaru Sulu’ in the ‘Star Trek’ TV series, and in the film adaptations that followed. Born to Japanese–American parents in Los Angeles, George started his acting career with the film ‘Hell to Eternity,’ released in 1960. He went on to star in some major films, alongside some of the biggest names in Hollywood, such as Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra, and Richard Burton. He soon became one of the most popular actors of Asian descent in Hollywood and a “go-to guy” for the roles that required an actor with Asian features. He joined the cast of the series ‘Star Trek’ in 1965 and then reprised his role in the series until its end and in the six motion pictures based on the series. He also lent his voice to several successful animated series, such as ‘The Simpsons,’ ‘Spider-Man,’ ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars,’ and ‘Kim Possible.’ In 2005, he revealed that he was gay. He has fought for LGBT rights ever since. He has raised his voice against racism and other social evils, and this has earned him several awards and honors, such as the ‘Doctorate of Humane Letters,’ the ‘GLAAD Vito Russo Award,’ and the ‘LGBT Humanist Award.’
Childhood & Early Life
George Takei was born on April 20, 1937, in Los Angeles, into a well-established Japanese family. His father worked in the real-estate sector, and his mother was a homemaker. Soon after his birth, the Second World War erupted and brought immense trouble to the Japanese immigrants living in the US. Japan and the US were at loggerheads in 1942, and this led George’s parents to leave Los Angeles and move to Arkansas.
Growing up, George had a very difficult childhood. In one of his interviews, he mentioned that most Japanese families feared for their lives after the attack on Pearl Harbor and that there was a time when their family had to live in stables, while keeping an eye on everyone around.
He lost a number of family members during the bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This caused him to develop an anti-war mindset later in his life, and as mentioned in his autobiography, the hardships he faced in his childhood turned him into a fearless man. He had witnessed death closely, and nothing scared him anymore.
When the war stopped and everything started coming back to normal, the family went back to Los Angeles. Takei continued his studies and joined ‘Mount Vernon Junior High School.’ He later attended the ‘Los Angeles High School.’
He was miles away from the entertainment industry. He aimed to become an architect and started studying architecture at the ‘University of California.’ However, Takei suddenly started developing an interest in cinema. He attained his bachelor’s degree in theater studies and continued with the master’s degree in the same program.
Soon after graduating, he started doing theater, and after a while, he ventured into Hollywood and started auditioning for film roles.
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While studying architecture, George had read newspaper advertisement for the requirement of an artist to dub a few characters of a Japanese monster movie, ‘Rodan,’ from Japanese to English. This was in the year 1956. This little stint stirred Takei’s interest in the entertainment world. He dropped out of his architecture program and opted for theater studies.
His voice-over stint also earned him a few smaller roles in the TV series ‘Perry Mason’ and ‘The Twilight Zone.’ Enthused by this early success, Takei tried earning better roles. He made his big-screen acting debut with the 1960 film ‘Hell to Eternity.’
A string of minor roles in bigger projects followed. Thus, Takei appeared in films such as ‘Ice Palace’ and the TV series ‘Mission: Impossible.’ Although such roles did not bring him enough prominence, he got the opportunity to share the screen with some of the biggest names of Hollywood, such as Frank Sinatra.
The early 1960s turned out to be the best phase of his career, as Takei starred in ‘The Twilight Zone,’ one of the most popular TV series of that time. This stint earned him a major role in the upcoming science-fiction series ‘Star Trek.’
In 1965, when Asian actors were not much respected in the industry that was markedly dominated by Americans and Europeans, Takei grabbed the major role of ‘Hikaru Sulu in the ‘Star Trek’ series. This made him a household name in America, and he started getting offers for many big films and TV series.
For the next few years, while he kept himself busy with ‘Star Trek’, he played major roles in films such as ‘Walk, Don’t Run’ and ‘The Green Berets.’
When ‘Star Trek’ was temporarily shelved in the late 1960s, he concentrated on other projects. In the 1970s, he mostly appeared in guest roles and did voice-over roles for films and TV series.
He starred in the series ‘The Six Million Dollar Man’ and ‘Hawaii Five-O’ during the 1970s and provided the voice to his character in the animation version of ‘Star Trek.’ This was followed by a role in the first ‘Star Trek’ motion picture, in 1979, which saw him reprise his role of ‘Sulu.’ He played the same role in five more movies over the next 12 years.
In the 1980s, his film career was mostly dedicated to ‘Star Trek,’ although he did small TV stints from time to time.
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The 1990s were not too eventful for his acting career. In 1990, he played the role of a Japanese officer in the film ‘Blood Oath,’ which revolved around the Second World War.
This role made him author a book on his experiences of the war. and The book, titled ‘To the Stars,’ was published in 1994 and gave a detailed account of impact of the tragedy on a young Japanese kid who did not have much idea about politics and was scared for his life and for his family. Takei also tried to make a telefilm based on the novel, but the plan fell apart.
In the 2000s, he made a guest appearance in ‘Scrubs’ and later appeared on stage at the ‘Comedy Central Roast of William Shatner.’ He played a starring role in the 2006 low-budget science-fiction TV movie ‘A.I. Assault.’ Most of his roles since then were either cameos or voice-acting roles.
Takei’s voice-acting career flourished as he lent his voice to a few highly successful series such as ‘BoJack Horseman,’ ‘The Simpsons,’ Spider-Man: The Animated Series,’ and ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender.
George Takei had managed to keep his personal life a secret for a very long time. In 2005, he declared he was gay and later opened up about his long-term relationship with Brad Altman.
Apart from being highly popular with the millennial population, for his portrayal of ‘Sulu’ in the cult series and movie franchise ‘Star Trek,’ he has also been known for his sarcastic and witty social media posts addressing serious problems.