Asian-American actor George Takei studied architecture at the University of California and theatre arts at UCLA. Takei's first film appearance was in the 1960 Warner Bros. feature Ice Palace He appeared with regularity on series television in the early 1960s; his most controversial TV role was the son of a World War II traitor in the 1964 Twilight Zone episode "The Encounter," which was withdrawn from the series' syndicated package due to charges of misrepresentation from several Japanese-American groups. In 1966, Takei began what was to become a lifelong assignment when he was cast as chief navigator Hikaru Sulu on the evergreen science-fiction series Star Trek. He has extended this characterization into seven Star Trek feature films, as well as a Saturday morning cartoon series. Erudite and socially correct at all times, Takei nonetheless enjoyed a reputation as Star Trek's most aggressive on-set practical joker. The show's three-year run ended, and although Takai appeared in a smattering of pictures including The Green Berets and Which Way to the Front?, he didn't find steady work on screen until the Star Trek film franchise got under way in 1979. The ongoing love for the series, and Takai's own ability to stay in the public eye thanks in part to his ongoing association with Howard Stern's radio show, helped him find steady work throughout the nineties, eventually finding a very lucrative career using his quite recognizable, resonant voice in a variety of animated endeavors. He announced in a 2005 interview that he's been in a long-term relationship with another man for nearly 20 years, and this news did nothing to halt his career or the public's goodwill toward him. Among his most high-profile acting gigs apart from Star Trek have been the television show Heroes, okaying Le Duc Tho in Kissinger and Nixon, and playing a quirky economics teacher in the Tom Hanks directed Larry Crowne.
Biography by Hal Erickson
- Was placed, with his family, in an internment camp during WWII.
- Dubbed English lines for eight different voices in the Japanese sci-fi movie Rodan (1956).
- In 1959, made his first TV appearance in Playhouse 90.
- Made feature-film debut in Ice Palace (1960) opposite Richard Burton.
- Was a delegate to the 1972 Democratic National Convention.
- Carried the Olympic torch for the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, CA.
- In 1986, received a star on Hollywood Boulevard's Walk of Fame.
- Has been a guest narrator for several symphony orchestras.
- Interests include running, architecture and historic preservation.
- Is Buddhist.