Actor Known for His Role in "Star Trek;" LGBTQ & Japanese-American Civil Rights Activist
Born in Los Angeles, California, George Takei overcame the racial barriers of his time to launch a successful acting career. He starred as Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu during the three-year television run of “Star Trek,” and later reprised the role for six movies. Prominently involved with gay rights and Japanese-American groups, Takei has become a highly popular social-media presence.
At the age of 5, Takei and his family were uprooted from their home and forced to live at Japanese-American internment camps in Arkansas and northern California. They returned to Los Angeles after World War II, and Takei enrolled at the University of California at Berkeley to study architecture.
While in college, Takei responded to a newspaper ad looking for Asian voiceover actors for the English version of the Japanese monster movie Rodan (1956). That led to more voiceover work, as well as small parts in television programs such as Perry Mason and the film Ice Palace (1960). Deciding to focus on acting full time, Takei transferred to the University of California Los Angeles, where he earned both bachelor's and master's degrees in theater.
In 1966, Takei became one of the few Asian Americans to be featured prominently on TV when he starred as Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu on the science-fiction series “Star Trek.” He returned after taking time off during the second season to film “The Green Berets” (1968), but his role as Sulu was temporarily shelved when Star Trek was canceled in 1969.
Takei continued to make regular TV appearances in the 1970s, on such programs as “The Six Million Dollar Man” and “Hawaii Five-O,” while providing the voice of Sulu for the “Star Trek” animated series. Momentum gathered for the making of the movie, and Takei reunited with the rest of his old castmates for Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) and five sequels over the next dozen years.
The 1990s brought a steady stream of voiceover gigs, with Takei's signature baritone surfacing in the Disney animated feature Mulan (1998) and episodes of “The Simpsons.” The veteran actor also became a semi-regular guest on the Howard Stern Show, and in 2006, he was named Stern's official announcer following the shock-jock's move to Sirius XM Radio.
Takei was involved in a project close to his heart when he took on a starring role in “Allegiance,” a production about the World War II internment of Japanese Americans. The play premiered at San Diego's Old Globe Theater in September 2012.
Takei has remained a busy man away from show business. After narrowly losing his bid for a seat on the Los Angeles City Council in 1973, he joined the board of directors for the Southern California Transit District from 1973 to 1984.
Takei served on the board of the Japan-United States Friendship Commission for President Bill Clinton and was conferred with the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette by His Majesty the Emperor of Japan in 2004. He is also chairman emeritus of the Japanese American National Museum's board of trustees and serves as chair of the council of governors of East West Players, a renowned Asian-American theater organization.
In 2005, Takei publicly announced his homosexuality to Frontiers magazine. He married his longtime partner, Brad Altman, in September 2008 at the Japanese American National Museum. They reside in Los Angeles, California.
In recent years, Takei has earned a following from a new generation of fans with his funny, incisive posts on social media. Takei's social media dominance is best denoted by his numerous awards. Mashable.com named George a "social media superstar" on Facebook in 2012, where he currently has over 19.6 million combined fans. In 2013, Takei won the Shorty Award for Distinguished Achievement in Internet Culture. He has 2.8 million followers on Twitter, and posts on various social media platforms. He expanded his internet presence with the 2015 YouTube series, "It Takeis Two," starring with his husband. The reality series shared the couple's daily navigation of their world, with George's vibrant sense of humor and Brad's less-than-optimistic pragmatism. In 2015, Cosmopolitan Magazine named Takei "One of the Internet's 50 Most Fascinating People."
As an author, Takei's first book, his autobiography, "To the Stars," was published in 1994; and in 2012 and 2013 he published his second and third books, "Oh Myyy! There Goes The Internet," and its sequel, "Lions And Tigers And Bears: The Internet Strikes Back." The latter two books explored his forays on social media and the Internet, earning placement on the Amazon e-book and paperback best-seller lists in 2012 and 2013, respectively.
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George Takei is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics . The estimated speaking fee range to book George Takei for your event is $50,000 - $75,000. George Takei generally travels from Los Angeles, CA, USA and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are Viola Davis, Amy Poehler, Amy Schumer, Rashida Jones and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling George Takei for an upcoming event.
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