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George Takei Takes Nothing But Positives In His Life From Star Trek

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In a 1995 interview titled “A Conversation with George Takei,” George Takei recalled his experience interviewing “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry for the role of Lieutenant Sulu. He was surprised not only by the show’s grand utopian vision, but also by its racial inclusiveness. “I knew he was talking about a groundbreaking role,” Takei said. “Because no Asian character has ever been portrayed in a regular weekly television series in the way he described Sulu.”

The opportunities that “Star Trek” created were therefore both societal and individual. Takei claimed he was dying to be cast for the role and was thrilled when he did. Interviewer Paul Rosa asked if he was at all frustrated at being so associated with Star Trek, perhaps at the expense of other roles, but Takei just doesn’t see it that way.

“I think my life has been completely changed by my association with ‘Star Trek,'” he replied. In fact, the recognition Takei gained through his role as Sulu is one of the reasons he was able to have such a visible presence in advocacy and politics, including a brief run for the California state assembly in 1980 (via Santa Cruz Sentinels).

Takei also mentioned – half-jokingly – the example of a loan officer asking him to autograph a photo of himself as Lieutenant Sulu before discussing business. Looking around the very place where the interview took place, the National Japan-American Museum in Los Angeles, he concluded, “This museum…I can participate at the level that I am at as a board member because ‘Star Trek’ made so many things possible.”



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