George Takei

Actor


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his nearly three-hour Archive interview, George Takei talks about his earliest years, defined by his placement in Japanese internment camps following the attack on Pearl Harbor. He speaks of his entrance into acting, which included guest appearances on the anthology series Playhouse 90 and The Twilight Zone. He then details the role for which he is most associated, that of "Mr. Sulu" on the original Star Trek. He describes getting cast on the series, recalls working with his co-stars, and talks of notable episodes. He also comments on the worldwide endurance of the series and describes his appearances at Star Trek conventions. He mentions other television guest appearances he has made through the years, including one on Third Rock From the Sun. B-roll consists of several photos from Star Trek, and individual photos from The Twilight Zone, Kissinger and Nixon (telefilm), Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country (feature film), and Star Trek: Voyager. Melody Chen conducted the interview on October 27, 2004 in Los Angeles, CA.

"That torturous period, after the interview, until the phone call from the agent comes, you are made to go through this excruciating process. But the phone call came and I was cast. I was Sulu."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
George Takei on how his internment during World War II influenced his life and career
George Takei on appearing in the Playhouse 90 teleplay "Made In Japan" (airdate: March 5, 1959)
George Takei on being cast on Star Trek as "Mr. Sulu"
George Takei on his favorite Star Trek episode "Naked Time"
George Takei on how he'd like to be remembered
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early years and family
On being confined to an American internment camp during World War II 
On his early interest in acting; his voiceover work; and his work at Desilu Playhouse

Chapter 2

On appearing in the Playhouse 90 teleplay "Made in Japan" (1959)
On co-starring in the controversial Twilight Zone episode "The Encounter" (airdate: May 1, 1964)
On working on the feature film Red Line 7000 directed by Howard Hawks
On some of the one-shot roles he had on TV and film
On getting cast as "Sulu" on Star Trek

Chapter 3

On his role as "Mr. Sulu" on Star Trek
On the production of Star Trek and working with his many colleagues
On the history of Desilu Studios, where Star Trek was filmed

Chapter 4

On studio-owner Lucille Ball; and working with fellow Star Trek castmembers James Doohan, Nichele Nichols, and Walter Koenig
On classic Star Trek episodes, including "Naked Time" (his favorite)
On Star Trek going off the air and its legacy and his character's legacy
On Star Trek: The Animated Series
On the legacy of Star Trek

Chapter 5

On Star Trek conventions and fans
On the TV movie The Year of the Dragon  (1975)
On how he approaches the craft of acting
On his role in the TV movie Kissinger and Nixon; on his guest appearance on 3rd Rock From the Sun

Chapter 6

On his guest appearance on Star Trek: Voyager
On his then-current projects, writing his autobiography, thoughts on racism, advice to aspiring actors, and how he'd like to be remembered
Shows

3rd Rock From the Sun

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George Takei on his guest appearance as himself on 3rd Rock From the Sun episode "Hotel Dick" (airdate: September 29, 1996)

Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The

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George Takei on being pranked on The Daily Show

Kissinger and Nixon

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George Takei on appearing in the TV movie Kissinger and Nixon (1995) as Le Duc Tho

Playhouse 90

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George Takei on appearing in the Playhouse 90 teleplay "Made In Japan" (airdate: March 5, 1959)

Star Trek

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George Takei on being cast on Star Trek as "Mr. Sulu"
George Takei on the character of Mr. Sulu on Star Trek
George Takei on working with the special effects, props and costumes on Star Trek
George Takei on Gene Roddenberry and Star Trek's commentary on American society at the time
George Takei on working with Star Trek colleagues James Doohan, Nichele Nicols, and Walter Koenig
George Takei on his favorite Star Trek episode "Naked Time"
George Takei on the Star Trek episode "Mirror, Mirror"
George Takei on Star Trek going off the air and its legacy and his character's legacy
George Takei on Gene Roddenberry's last appearance at the Star Trek 25th anniversary convention

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

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George Takei on Star Trek conventions and fans

Star Trek: The Animated Series

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George Takei on working on Star Trek: The Animated Series and how Leonard Nimoy ensured that the original cast would do the voices

Star Trek: Voyager

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George Takei on his guest appearance on Star Trek: Voyager in the episode "Flashback" (airdate: September 11, 1996)

Twilight Zone, The

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George Takei on co-starring in the controversial Twilight Zone episode "The Encounter" (airdate: May 1, 1964)

Year of the Dragon

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George Takei on the TV movie The Year of the Dragon  (1975)
Topics

Advice

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George Takei on his advice to aspiring actors

Bloopers

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George Takei on working on a Playhouse 90 where an actor forgot his lines and pantomimed until he remembered

Censorship / Standards & Practices

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George Takei on co-starring in the controversial Twilight Zone episode "The Encounter" (airdate: May 1, 1964)

Characters & Catchphrases

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George Takei on how the name of his Star Trek character, Mr. Sulu came about

Diversity in Television

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George Takei on being an Asian-American actor

Minorities

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George Takei on being confined to an American internment camp during World War II 
George Takei on the dearth of Asians in the entertainment industry early in his career
George Takei on Gene Roddenberry envisioning diversity as the strength of the Star Trek crew
George Takei on being an Asian-American actor

Studio and Network Management

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George Takei on the history of Desilu Studios

Television Industry

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George Takei on his advice to aspiring actors

Vietnam War

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George Takei on Gene Roddenberry and Star Trek's commentary on American society at the time

World War II

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George Takei on being confined to an American internment camp during World War II 
Professions

Actor

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George Takei on how he approaches the craft of acting
George Takei on his advice to aspiring actors

Performers

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George Takei on how he approaches the craft of acting
George Takei on his advice to aspiring actors
Genres

Sci-Fi/Supernatural Series

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George Takei on Gene Roddenberry envisioning diversity as the strength of the Star Trek crew
George Takei on working with the special effects, props and costumes on Star Trek
George Takei on the legacy of Star Trek in promoting diversity

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

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George Takei on the TV movie The Year of the Dragon  (1975)
People

Neville Brand

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George Takei on co-starring in the controversial Twilight Zone episode "The Encounter" (airdate: May 1, 1964)

Robert Butler

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George Takei on co-starring in the controversial Twilight Zone episode "The Encounter" (airdate: May 1, 1964)
George Takei on Robert Butler

Gene Coon

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George Takei on working with Star Trek producers Gene Coon and Bob Justman

James Doohan

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George Takei on his favorite Star Trek episode "Naked Time"
George Takei on the advice James Doohan gave him about acting

Harry Guardino

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George Takei on appearing in the Playhouse 90 teleplay "Made In Japan" (airdate: March 5, 1959)

Robert Justman

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George Takei on working with Star Trek producers Gene Coon and Bob Justman

DeForest Kelley

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George Takei on working with Star Trek colleague DeForest Kelley

Walter Koenig

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George Takei on Walter Koenig's joining Star Trek 

Leonard Nimoy

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George Takei on working with Star Trek colleague Leonard Nimoy
George Takei on working on Star Trek: The Animated Series and how Leonard Nimoy ensured that the original cast would do the voices

Gene Roddenberry

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George Takei on meeting Gene Roddenberry when being cast on Star Trek
George Takei on Gene Roddenberry envisioning diversity as the strength of the Star Trek crew
George Takei on Gene Roddenberry and Star Trek's reflection of American society at the time
George Takei on Gene Roddenberry's last appearance at the Star Trek 25th anniversary convention

Rod Serling

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George Takei on meeting Rod Serling

William Shatner

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George Takei on working with Star Trek colleague William Shatner

Ron Silver

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George Takei on appearing in the TV movie Kissinger and Nixon (1995) as Le Duc Tho

Jac Venza

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George Takei on the TV movie The Year of the Dragon  (1975)

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