George Hosato Takei (born April 20, 1937) is an American actor, best known for his role as Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the USS Enterprise in the television series Star Trek. He is a proponent of gay rights and active in state and local politics as well as continuing his acting career. He has won several awards and accolades in his work on human rights and Japanese American relations, including his work with the Japanese American National Museum.
Takei was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of Fumiko Emily (née Nakamura) and Takekuma Norman Takei, who worked in real estate. Upon graduation from high school, Takei enrolled in the University of California, Berkeley where he studied architecture. Later he attended the University of California, Los Angeles, where he received a bachelor of arts in theater in 1960 and a master of arts in theater in 1964. He attended the Shakespeare Institute at Stratford-upon-Avon in England, and Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan. In Hollywood, he studied acting at the Desilu Workshop. Takei is fluent in English, Japanese, and Spanish. Takei began his career in Hollywood in the late 1950s, at a time when Asian faces were rarely seen on American television and movie screens. His first role was providing voiceover for several characters in the English dub of Japanese monster films such as “Godzilla Raids Again” and “Rodan”.
In 1965, producer Gene Roddenberry cast him as Mr. Sulu in the second Star Trek pilot and eventually the Star Trek television series. Takei has since appeared in numerous TV and film productions, including the first six Star Trek motion pictures, and today he is a regular on the science fiction convention circuit throughout the world. He has also acted and provided voice acting for several science fiction computer games, including Freelancer and numerous Star Trek games.
LIFE LONG AND PROSPER
Hikaru Sulu was born in San Francisco, Earth on 2237. His parents named him after the protagonist of the Japanese novel The Tale of Genji. Sulu entered Starfleet Academy in 2255, and quickly developed an aptitude for Spatial Navigation, as well as fencing, in which he became champion for three years running. Hikaru also took up an extra curricular in botany, finally graduating in 2259. This aspect of his hobbies earned him the nickname, “D’Artagnan” six years later.
However, instead of taking a shipboard assignment, Sulu decided to continue his studies, and as a result of his research and publishing an article about “Experimental Subparticle Physics and Their Application to Warp Drive”, received a promotion to lieutenant, junior grade in the same year. In 2264, Sulu was expecting to be assigned to the USS Aerfen when he received orders to board the USS Enterprise as the ship’s helmsman. Although he requested a transfer, this was refused by Captain James T. Kirk, and following the voyage around the Federation Phalanx Sulu decided to remain aboard anyway.
In 2269, Sulu considered applying for a transfer off the Enterprise because he felt like more of a challenge. Kirk realized this and put through a request that Sulu be promoted to Lieutenant Commander. By the time the refit of the Enterprise was completed, Sulu had been promoted to Lt. Commander.
In late 2289 Commander Sulu was assigned to the USS Excelsior as Executive Officer under Captain Lawrence Styles. Sulu remained Captain of the Excelsior until at least the year 2320. After retiring from Starfleet in the first half of the 24th century, Sulu ran for public office and eventually was elected as President of the United Federation of Planets, serving three terms.