With humorous and outspoken charm, actor-activist George Takei will speak at SMU Thursday, Feb. 2, at 6:30 p.m. at McFarlin Auditorium. The sold-out “Upstander” Series show is being sponsored by SMU’s Embrey Human Rights Program and the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance.
(For event details, see https://sites.smu.edu/apps/events/rsvp_form.asp?e=takei.)
Expect Takei to share his no-holds-barred views on certain controversial current events and other topics through the lens of a human rights champion – views that have won him more than 10 million Facebook “likes” and two million Twitter followers.
Brush up on your knowledge of George Takei via 10 fast-facts:
- George Hosato Takei, born in Los Angeles in 1937, was named by his Anglophile father in honor of England’s King George VI.
- In 1942, Takei and his family were among the estimated 120,000 Japanese-Americans forced into internment camps during World War II. In 1981, he testified before Congress about his experiences in camps in California and Arkansas. “I remember the barbed wire and the guard towers and the machine guns [that] became … my normality,” he said, noting it’s important for a country “to know about its glorious achievements but also know where its ideals failed, in order to keep that from happening again.”
- Takei had relatives killed during the atomic bombing in Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945.
- In 2005, Takei revealed to Frontiers magazine that he is gay: “It’s not really coming out, which suggests opening a door and stepping through,” he told the interviewer. “It’s more like a long, long walk through what began as a narrow corridor that starts to widen.” Three years afterward, Takei and his partner Brad Altman (who’ve been together nearly 30 years) were married at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles.
- In 2009, Takei and Altman became the first same-sex couple to appear on “The Newlywed Game” television show.
- Takei took to Facebook to defend Miss America 2014 Nina Davuluri, whose Indian heritage prompted a backlash of racist and xenophobic comments. During a joint interview with Takei on ABC, Davuluri told him she was a “Trekkie”— prompting Takei to respond, “In Star Trek we have this creed: ‘Infinite diversity in infinite combinations.’ That’s what Starfleet was all about, so you’re a part of that.”
- In 2014, Takei, a former Boy Scout, raised $100,000 to help an adult Eagle Scout create a web series about being forced out of the Boy Scouts of America by its (then) anti-gay adult policy. “This web series will help educate and inform, as well as entertain. … Let’s make this happen.” The next year, the BSA ended its ban on openly gay adult leaders.
- Asteroid 7307 Takei is named in his honor. “I am now a heavenly body,” Takei said upon learning the news, which “came out of the clear, blue sky – just like an asteroid.”
- To date, Takei has worked on 34 films, 64 television shows and nine stage performances, and been in numerous commercials. Before his now legendary role in the mega-hit TV series, “Star Trek” (1966-1969), he appeared on such shows as “Perry Mason” (1959), “The Twilight Zone” (1964), “My Three Sons” (1965) and “Mission Impossible” (1966).
- For the racy origin of his catchphrase “Oh, myyyy” – which we shant repeat here – visit http://www.businessinsider.com/star-trek-george-takei-catchphrase-2016-1.