Star Trek’s Sulu and social media icon
George Takei is an actor, social justice activist, social media mega-power, star of the Broadway musical Allegiance, host of the AARP-produced YouTube series Takei’s Take, and subject of To Be Takei, a documentary on his life and career.
George Takei’s acting career has spanned five decades, with more than 40 feature films and hundreds of television guest-starring roles to his credit. Takei is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Actors’ Equity Association, and Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.
With the outbreak of World War II, Los Angeles, California-born Takei and his family were placed behind the barbed-wire enclosures of United States internment camps along with 120,000 other Japanese Americans. Takei spent most of his childhood at Camp Rohwer in the swamps of Arkansas and at wind-swept Camp Tule Lake in northern California. At the end of the war, Takei’s family returned to their native Los Angeles.
Inspired by this difficult chapter of American history, Takei developed the Broadway-bound musical Allegiance, an epic story of love, family and heroism in which he stars alongside Tony Award winner Lea Salonga. Allegiance’s record-breaking world premiere at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego in 2012 won multiple awards and will be followed by a Broadway run in 2015.
Now a community activist, Takei serves as chair of the council of governors of East West Players, the nation’s foremost Asian Pacific American theater. He is also a member of the Human Rights Campaign, the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender political organization. Takei is Chairman Emeritus of the Japanese American National Museum’s Board of Trustees; a member of the US-Japan Bridging Foundation’s Board of Directors; and served on the Board of the Japan-United States Friendship Commission under President Clinton. In recognition of his contribution to the Japan-United States relationship, Takei was conferred with the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette by His Majesty the Emperor of Japan in 2004.
To Be Takei, a Jennifer M. Kroot documentary on the life and career of Takei, premiered at Sundance Film Festival in January 2014 and was released in select theaters across North America in August 2014.
Takei shared a Grammy nomination with Leonard Nimoy in 1987 in the Best Spoken Word or Non-Musical Recording category. Takei also received a star on Hollywood Boulevard’s Walk of Fame in 1986. And in 1991 he left his signature and hand print, in cement, in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. His autobiography, To the Stars, was published in 1994, and in 2012 and 2013 he published Oh Myyy! There Goes The Internet, and its sequel, Lions And Tigers And Bears: The Internet Strikes Back – both about his forays on social media and the internet, making the Amazon e-book and paperback best-seller lists in 2012 and 2013.
Mashable.com has named Takei the most-influential person on Facebook, where currently he has more than 8.3 million likes. He has 1.5 million followers on Twitter.
George Takei and his husband, Brad Takei, were married at the Japanese American National Museum on Sept. 14, 2008.