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George Takei, aka Mr. Sulu, On Campus

Published: November 1, 2016

George Takei will be sharing memories and insights from his extraordinary life on Friday, Nov. 12 at 8 at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center, as part of its Wit and Wisdom series.

To some, Takei will remain best known for his portrayal of Mr. Sulu in both the Star Trek TV series and movie franchise, but today many know him for his roles as social activist and social media super-star.

Takei’s rise as a social media giant is an interesting chapter in his nothing-short-of-fantastical life. He has penned books on his wildly popular social media presence, has more than 8.9 million “likes” on Facebook, was awarded the Shorty Award for Distinguished Achievement in Internet Culture, has 1.7 million followers on Twitter, and expanded his reach even further with the 2015 debut of the YouTube reality series It Takeis Two, with husband, Brad Takei.

Cosmopolitan magazine named Takei “One of the Internet’s 50 Most Fascinating People.” The 2014 documentary “To Be Takei,” a Jennifer M. Kroot film on his life, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, and was later released in select theatres across North America.

Though his hand prints are on display in front of the former Grauman’s Chinese Theater and his star positioned on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, his childhood was less-than-celebrated yet just as cinematic.

Takei, along with approximately 120,000 other Japanese Americans, spent years in internment camps at the onset of WWII. He viewed much of his childhood from behind barbed-wire. That experience has informed his activism and his speaking engagements present a forum for him to share that experience, as well as his thoughts on myriad other human rights issues, including his staunch advocacy for the LBGTQ community.

Takei took his experience in the internment camps and brought it to the boards with the Broadway musical “Allegiance,” in which he costarred with the Tony Award winning Lea Salonga. The play is loosely based on Takei’s memories of the camps and centers on themes of loyalty, heroism and love. “Allegiance” made its debut last year at the Old Globe in San Diego. That production was filmed, and “George Takei’s Allegiance: The Broadway Musical On The Big Screen” will play at select theaters throughout the country Dec. 13.

In addition to the full musical, the screening will also incorporate behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with the show’s creators and cast members.

Takei serves as chair of the council of governors of East West Players, the nation’s foremost Asian Pacific American theater. He is also a member of the Human Rights Campaign, the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization. He is chairman emeritus of the Japanese American National Museum’s Board of Trustees, a member of the U.S.-Japan Bridging Foundation Board of Directors. and served on the Board of the Japan-United States Friendship Commission under President Bill Clinton. In recognition of his contribution to the Japan-United States relationship, in 2004, Takei was conferred with the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, by His Majesty, the Emperor of Japan.

As an author, Takei’s has written To the Stars (his autobiography), Oh Myyy! There Goes The Internet, and its sequel, Lions And Tigers And Bears: The Internet Strikes Back. The latter two books explore his forays on social media and the Internet, earning placement on the Amazon e-book and paperback best-seller lists.