George Takei: Hikaru Sulu

March 24, 2012 by staff 

George Takei: Hikaru Sulu, Although primarily known for playing Sulu in the original Star Trek series and the first six feature films, George Takei has had a varied career acting in TV, feature films and live theater. He is also a successful writer and community activist.

Takei majored in theater at UCLA. He appeared as an embittered soldier in postwar Japan in Made in Japan. This role lead to other significant parts in Ice Palace, Hawaiian Eye and more. Gene Roddenberry cast him in Where No Man Has Gone Before, the second Star Trek pilot. On the hiatus after the end of shooting the first season he worked on The Green Berets, playing a South Vietnamese Special Forces officer.

After Star Trek was canceled, Takei did guest stints in several TV shows, and voiced Sulu for the animated Star Trek series. He also produced and hosted a public affairs show, Expression East/West, that aired in Los Angeles from 1971 to 1973.

The prolific Takei then wrote a sci-fi novel entitled Mirror Friend, Mirror Foe. In 1986 he gained a star on Hollywood Boulevard’s Walk of Fame. His 1994 autobiography To The Stars received critical acclaim. He appeared in 11 episodes of the hit TV show Heroes from 2007 to 2008 and also worked as an announcer for the Howard Stern Show. In 2008, Takei made headlines when he married longtime partner Brad Altman but refused to invite Star Trek co-star William Shatner even though other castmates, including Walter Koenig (Chekov) and Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura) were in the wedding party. Shatner expressed outrage over the snub, while Takei claimed his invitation went unanswered. Shatner then extended an invitation for Takei to come on his Biography show to settle the dispute.

Sulu (who was given the first name ‘Hikaru’ for the film adaptation of the series) was born in San Francisco. The half-Filipino, half-Japanese lieutenant has a variety of interests including botany, fencing and ancient weaponry; he’s also an advanced judo practitioner. His job aboard the ship is helmsman – he is in charge of steering the spacecraft. Later on, he is promoted to lieutenant commander. Sulu’s closest friend is Pavel Chekov.

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