Fan icon George Takei, beloved Star Trek actor and author, celebratea his 86th birthday.
Three cheers for “Uncle George,” the beloved “King of the Internet”! Dr. Takei rose to fame playing Hikaru Sulu in Star Trek. Among his many honors and awards, he has two honorary doctorates. Dr. Takei was born Hosato Takei (, Takei Hosato, April 20, 1937, in Los Angeles, California. He is an actor, an author, and a civil rights activist. He once described himself as “I’m a civic busybody and I’ve been blessed with an active career.”
George Takei is no stranger to being chained to the writing desk. He cowrote the science fiction ninja novel Mirror Friend, Mirror Foe with Robert Aspirin. He co-wrote the critically acclaimed graphic novel They Called Us Enemy with Justin Eisinger and Steven Scott , which was illustrated by Harmony Becker. He’s written two books about his successful role as an Iinternet icon, Oh Myyy! and Lions and Tigers and Bears. He published his first autobiography, To The Stars, in 1994. He has not announced yet whether or not he intends to write a second autobiography.
Dr. Takei is best known for playing Lt. Sulu in Star Trek, of course, but that’s far from his only role. He played Captain Nghiem in The Green Berets (1968). Like most actors of his generation, Dr. Takei guest starred on Twilight Zone. He starred in the controversial and seldom syndicated episode “The Encounter,” which after being broadcast May 1, 1964, was not run again until 2004. In the movie Kissinger and Nixon (1995), Dr. Takei played Vietnamese diplomat Lê ??c Th?. In the popular TV show Heroes, Dr. Takei portrayed aito Nakamura, the father of the aptly named Hiro Nakamura. He appeared in Hell to Eternity (1960) with Jeffrey Hunter who played Christopher Pike in “The Menagerie.”
Dr. Takei began his acting career in voice work, dubbing Japanese monster movies into English. Like many older actors,(he’s turning 86, after all) his career focuses on voice work now. He voiced Hosato in Kubo and the Two Strings (2016). In Star Wars : The Clone Wars, he voiced General Lok Durd; Dr. Takei is the only Trek star to participate in the Star Wars franchise. He voiced the First Ancestor in Disney’s Mulan (1998) and Mulan II (2004). He’s been a part of three Scooby-Doo projects: Scooby Doo and Guess Who? as himself, Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated! as Wang, the White Wizard, and Scooby Doo and the Samurai Sword as old man samurai. He’s lent his voice to projects as diverse as Avatar: The Last Airbender, Bubble Guppies, Jackie Chan Adventures, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Transformers, as well as several video games.
George Takei attended the 1972 Democratic National Convention as an alternate delegate. In 1973 he ran for the Los Angeles City Council, but came in second of five candidates. LA Mayor Tom Bradley appointed him to the Board of Directors of the Southern California Rapid Transit District. He served on the board from 1973 to 1984. He was part of the team that planned the Los Angeles Subway System. He is an active social critic and civil rights advocate on Facebook and Twitter, earning him the nickname the King of the Internet. His principal concerns are LGBT rights and immigrants’ rights. He is also noted for his wicked sense of humor.
In a Parallel Universe
Somewhere in the multiverse, there is a parallel universe where Dr. Takei concentrated on his political ambitions rather than acting. Perhaps in that universe, when Senator John Glenn ran for president, he asked Dr. Takei to be his running mate: the real astronaut and the sci-fi actor. Perhaps in that universe, George became the first openly Gay president, as well as the first Asian-American president. Perhaps.
My friend and editor said Dr. Takei’s “crowning achievement is the musical 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.”
Honors and Awards
Dr. Takei received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1986. The Japanese government granted him the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette which represents the fourth highest of six classes associated with the award. to acknowledge his contributions to US-Japanese relations. He has an asteroid named in his honor: Asteroid 7307 Takei is between Mars and Jupiter. In 2007, the San Diego Asian Film Festival granted him a Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2012 the American humanist Association gave Dr. Takei the LGBT humanist Award. He received the GLAAD Vito Russo Award from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation in 2015. In 2015 he received the Distinguished Medal of Honor for Lifetime Achievement and Public Service from the Japanese American National Museum. He is on the board of trustees of the Japanese-American National Museum, as well as one of its founders. In 2016, he received his first honorary doctorate from California State University, Los Angeles. he was granted his second honorary doctorate in 2022 by the University of South Australia. He has not yet won an Emmy.
Happy Birthday, Uncle George!
Banzai! Live long and prosper, Uncle George. You’re a gentleman and a scholar, and we here at SciFi.Radio wish you a very happy birthday.
Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as 26 short stories, mostly fantasy in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, Swords &Sorceries Vols. 1, 2, & 5, “Cat Tails” “Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions, Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.