Today is George Takei’s 81st birthday!
George Takei has had an amazing life so far. Born in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, California, he braved adversity first in the interment camps during World War II and then as a gay man working in Hollywood as he matured. He’s acted in feature motion pictures and television series, but he rocketed to true stardom in 1965 when he first appeared as Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu of the Federation starship Enterprise on the landmark science fiction television show, Star Trek. Since then he’s been involved in local politics in Los Angeles, co-written a science fiction novel with Robert Asprin called Mirror Friend, Mirror Foe, and appeared in a number of Star Trek motion pictures, as well as dozens of other television and motion pictures roles.
His current crowning achievement is the music Allegiance, which speaks to our modern cultural issues more plainly than even Takei could have imagined. Allegiance is a musical with music and lyrics by Jay Kuo and a book by Marc Acito, Kuo and Lorenzo Thione. The story, set during the Japanese American internment of World War II (with a framing story set in the present day), was inspired by the personal experiences of George Takei, who stars in the musical. It follows the Kimura family in the years following the attack on Pearl Harbor, as they are forced to leave their farm in Salinas, California and are sent to the Heart Mountain internment camp in the rural plains of Wyoming. It’s a very very personal experience for Takei, and stands as a rarity in musical theater. Perhaps its message will carry more weight than its creators imagined.
Well done, George.
Since he’s still best loved for his portrayal of Lt. Sulu, we’re going to be celebrating as only a science fiction radio station can: we’re tossing a big helping of Star Trek music into the mix, not only from all the movies, but from fandom as well! Listen all day to enjoy this tribute to the captain of the Excelsior.
Happy Birthday, George, from all of us at SCIFI.radio. May this planet enjoy the pleasure of your residence for many decades to come.
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