George Takei

George Hosato Takei (/təˈkeɪ/; born Hosato Takei, April 20, 1937) is an American actor, director, author, and activist. He is best known for his role as Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the USS Enterprise in the television series Star Trek.[1][2] He also portrayed the character in six Star Trek feature films and one episode of Star Trek: Voyager.

As of April 2018, his Facebook page has over 10 million followers since he joined in 2011, and the account frequently shares photos with original humorous commentary.[3][4] Takei is a proponent of LGBT rights and is active in state and local politics. He has won several awards and accolades in his work on human rights and Japan–United States relations, including his work with the Japanese American National Museum.

Takei's work on the Broadway show Allegiance, as well as his own internment in a US-run internment camp during World War II, has given him a platform to speak out against government rhetoric about immigrants and immigration policies.[5][6]

George Takei
Loz takei 2015 side
Takei in December 2015
Born
Hosato Takei

April 20, 1937 (age 81)
Occupation
  • Actor
  • author
  • voice artist
  • director
  • activist
Years active1955–present
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)
Brad Altman (m. 2008)
Websitewww.georgetakei.com

Early life

George Hosato Takei was born Hosato Takei[7] on April 20, 1937 in Los Angeles, California,[8] to Japanese-American parents Fumiko Emily (née Nakamura;[7] born in Sacramento, California) and Takekuma Norman Takei (born in Yamanashi Prefecture),[9] who worked in real estate.[10] His father named him George after King George VI of the United Kingdom, whose coronation took place in 1937, shortly after Takei's birth.[11][12] In 1942, the Takei family was forced to live in the converted horse stables of Santa Anita Park before being sent to the Rohwer War Relocation Center for internment in Rohwer, Arkansas.[13] The family was later transferred to the Tule Lake War Relocation Center in California.[14]

Takei had several relatives living in Japan during World War II. Among them, he had an aunt and infant cousin who lived in Hiroshima and who were both killed during the atomic bombing that destroyed the city. In Takei's own words, "My aunt and baby cousin [were] found burnt in a ditch in Hiroshima."[15] At the end of World War II, Takei and his family returned to Los Angeles. He attended Mount Vernon Junior High School and served as Boys Division President at Los Angeles High School. He was a member of Boy Scout Troop 379 of the Koyasan Buddhist Temple.[16][17]

Upon graduation from high school, Takei enrolled in the University of California, Berkeley, where he studied architecture.[18] Later, he transferred to 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.[19] He also attended the Shakespeare Institute at Stratford-upon-Avon in England, and Sophia University in Tokyo. In Hollywood, he studied acting at the Desilu Workshop.[20]

Career

Early career

Takei began his career in Hollywood in the late 1950s, providing voiceover for characters in the English dub of the Japanese monster films Rodan[21] and Godzilla Raids Again a.k.a. Gigantis the Fire Monster, for which he recalled, "[T]here was one word that we had tremendous difficulty getting the meaning of and finding an English word that fit the lip movement. The Japanese word was 'bakayaro', which means 'stupid fool'". The director, Takei said, had him use the phrase "banana oil."[22] He went on to appear in the anthology television series Playhouse 90 and the Perry Mason episode "The Case of the Blushing Pearls". He guest starred in the third season fifth episode of Hawaiian Eye as Thomas Jefferson Chu. He originated the role of George in the musical Fly Blackbird!, but when the show traveled from Los Angeles[23] to Broadway the west coast actors were forced to audition and the role went to William Sugihara instead. Eventually Sugihara had to give up the role and Takei closed out the show's final months.[24]

Takei subsequently appeared alongside such actors as Frank Sinatra in Never So Few (uncredited), Richard Burton in Ice Palace, Jeffrey Hunter in Hell to Eternity, Alec Guinness in A Majority of One, James Caan in Red Line 7000 and Cary Grant in Walk, Don't Run. He featured in a lead role in "The Encounter", a 1964 episode of The Twilight Zone in which he played the guilt-ridden son of a traitor who signaled Japanese pilots during the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

He guest-starred in an episode of Mission: Impossible during that show's first season in 1966. He also appeared in two Jerry Lewis comedies, The Big Mouth and Which Way to the Front? In 1969 Takei narrated the documentary The Japanese Sword as the Soul of the Samurai.[25]

Star Trek

George Takei Sulu Star Trek
Takei as Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu

In 1965, producer Gene Roddenberry cast Takei as astrosciences physicist Sulu in the second pilot for the original Star Trek television series. When the series was accepted by NBC, Takei continued in the role of Sulu, who was now the ship's helmsman.

It was intended that Sulu's role be expanded in the second season, but Takei's role in The Green Berets as Captain Nim, a South Vietnamese Army officer alongside John Wayne's character, took him away from Star Trek filming and he only appeared in half the episodes of that season. Walter Koenig as Pavel Chekov substituted for him in the other episodes. When Takei returned, the two men had to share a dressing room and a single episode script.[26] Takei admitted in an interview that he initially felt threatened by Koenig's presence, but later grew to be friends with him as the image of the officers sharing the ship's helm panel side-by-side became iconic.[26]

Takei has since appeared in numerous TV and film productions, reprising his role as Sulu in Star Trek: The Animated Series from 1973 to 1974, and in the first six Star Trek films. 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. In 1996, in honor of the 30th anniversary of Star Trek, he reprised his role as Captain Hikaru Sulu on an episode of Star Trek: Voyager, appearing as a memory of Lt. Tuvok, who served on the USS Excelsior under Sulu, during the events of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

Takei is one of the Star Trek supporting cast members whose difficulties with William Shatner have become public.[27][28][29][30] However, in an interview in the 2004 DVD set for the second season of Star Trek, Takei said of Shatner: "He's just a wonderful actor who created a singular character. No one could have done Kirk the way Bill did. His energy and his determination, that's Bill. And that's also Captain Kirk." He appeared alongside Shatner on the 2006 Comedy Central Roast of William Shatner in which the two mocked each other in good humor and embraced, Takei noting that he was "honored" to be there "despite our past tensions".

Takei is also one of six actors (the others being Jonathan Frakes, Kate Mulgrew, Michael Dorn, Avery Brooks and Majel Barrett) to lend his voice to Star Trek: Captain's Chair, reprising his role of Captain Hikaru Sulu when users visit the bridge of the original Enterprise in the computer game. In the summer of 2007, Takei reprised his role of Sulu in the fan-made Internet based series Star Trek New Voyages: Phase II episode "World Enough and Time".[31][32]

After Star Trek

In 1979, Takei co-wrote the science-fiction novel Mirror Friend, Mirror Foe with Robert Asprin.[33]

In 1994, Takei published his autobiography, To the Stars. At one point, he had hoped to do a movie or telefilm based on chapters dealing with the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, of which he had personal experience.

In August 2006, Takei was a guest on the Comedy Central Roast of William Shatner. He sat on the dais, and was one of the many people who took part in the roasting, in which he took the time to verbally poke fun at Shatner.

In January 2007, Takei began appearing on Heroes, as Kaito Nakamura, a successful Japanese businessman and father to one of the main characters, time/space-travelling Hiro Nakamura, who also happens to be an obsessive fan of Star Trek. In the first episode in which Takei appears, "Distractions", the license plate of the limo he arrives in is NCC-1701, another reference to the Star Trek series. He appeared in all four seasons of the show.

Takei appeared on the first episode of Secret Talents of the Stars, singing country music, but was not selected to proceed to the next stage. However the point became moot as the series was abruptly cancelled after the opening episode.

In 2008 he appeared on the 8th season of the reality TV series I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! on British television. He lived in the Australian bush for 21 days and nights, doing tasks along with fellow campers in order to gain better meals and survive eviction from the show. His politeness and calmness made him popular with the other campers. Out of 12 participants the British public voted him into 3rd place behind 2nd placed Martina Navratilova and winner Joe Swash.

In 2009, Takei appeared in an episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars as the Neimoidian general, Lok Durd, the first time a leading actor from Star Trek worked in a Star Wars production. In April that year , he voiced a fictitious version of himself in the NASA animated short "Robot Astronomy Talk Show: Gravity and the Great Attractor", part of the web-series IRrelevant Astronomy produced by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. Takei (and his husband Brad Altman) appeared in a documentary short titled George & Brad in Bed (2009) that profiled their relationship and was a guest on NPR's Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me!.

In 2010, Takei recorded a series of public service announcements for the Social Security Administration to help promote applying online for benefits.

In 2011, he appeared with husband Brad Altman in All Star Mr & Mrs, a show on ITV in Britain presented by Phillip Schofield and Fern Britton.[34]

Takei was also one of the celebrities in the 12th season of The Apprentice. He was fired in the third episode, which aired on March 4, 2012.

Takei was featured with Martin Sheen and Jamie Lee Curtis in a performance of Dustin Lance Black's play 8—a staged reenactment of the federal trial that overturned California's Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage—as William Tam.[35] The production was held at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre and broadcast on YouTube to raise money for the American Foundation for Equal Rights.[36][37]

In 2012, Takei starred in the musical Allegiance, which Takei described as his legacy project. The show is based on Takei's own experiences and research into the Japanese American internment of World War II and premiered at the Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park in San Diego, California.[38] Allegiance debuted on Broadway on November 8, 2015, to mixed reviews. The Guardian said it was "unexceptional though often affecting"; Deadline called it "a triumph of a rare sort, shedding light in a dark corner of our history with uncommon generosity of spirit." The New York Times praised the "well-intentioned and polished" play for tackling a difficult subject while trying at the same time to entertain its audience, but said Allegiance "struggles to balance both ambitions, and doesn't always find an equilibrium". The Associated Press said Allegiance tries to tackle internment camps, discrimination and war, "but does so unsuccessfully in a bombastic and generic Broadway musical". Variety wrote, "In their sincere efforts to 'humanize' their complex historical material, the creatives have oversimplified and reduced it to generic themes." The Hollywood Reporter said "the powerful sentiments involved are too often flattened by the pedestrian lyrics and unmemorable melodies of Jay Kuo's score". USA Today called Allegiance "as corny as Kansas in August and as obvious as Lady Gaga on a red carpet. But darned if it won't get a grip on your heartstrings."[39]

In 2013, Takei was a guest judge in the TBS reality show King of the Nerds, in which he is one of three judges of the Cosplay Competition.[40]

Beginning September 17, 2013, Takei hosted Takei's Take,[41] a web series reviewing consumer technology in a manner for viewers over 50 years in age. The series is produced by AARP.[42]

Takei made an appearance in issue no. 5 of Kevin Keller where the titular character cites George Takei as one of his heroes. Upon reading about Kevin with his partner, Takei decides to travel to Riverdale and surprise Kevin. Takei also wrote the foreword for the second volume of the Kevin Keller comics.

Takei appeared in the viral video for Bonnie McKee's song "American Girl" lip syncing the lyrics to her song.

Starting in 2013, Takei became spokesperson for Rooms To Go, an American furniture retailer. He was seen in a series of television commercials where he used his famous "Oh Myyy!" tag line.

In January 2014, Jennifer Kroot's documentary film about Takei, To Be Takei, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. He also participated in Do I Sound Gay?, a documentary film by David Thorpe about stereotypes of gay men's speech patterns.[43]

In 2015, he produced a YouTube mini-series It Takeis Two featuring himself and Altman,[44][45] described as a "parody-scripted reality series" that also includes Internet culture.[46] The series ran for nine episodes.[47]

In early 2017 Takei was featured in television commercials promoting the restaurant Pizza Hut.[48]

The Howard Stern Show

Takei first appeared on The Howard Stern Show on November 12, 1990, to promote a New York play he was taking part in. He appeared via a satellite feed on September 27, 1994, to promote his book To the Stars.... Clips of Takei from his audio book and television interviews would later be played on the show, with prank calls and comedy bits being made using them.

On January 9, 2006, it was announced that Takei would be the new announcer for the show when it moved to Sirius XM Radio. Takei sat in the studio for the first week of broadcasts, and to this day sits in for a week of shows every few months. His most recent in-studio appearance was the week of October 29, 2018.

In June 2006, Takei accepted a Freedom of Speech Award on behalf of Stern, with the award being presented by Talkers Magazine. Takei was in the studio again for two days in late September 2006 where he discussed his participation in an episode of Star Trek: New Voyages as well as his participation in the film The Great Buck Howard. In a visit in December 2007, Stern stated that Takei was the only cast member who got universally positive feedback from audience e-mails; even listeners who claim to dislike Star Trek enjoy Takei's contributions. The show staff has stated that they like his upfront sense of humor and his willingness to talk about almost any issue openly and freely, particularly now that the show is uncensored on Sirius XM.

Takei developed a friendly relationship with former Stern cast member Artie Lange, whom Takei affectionately calls his "cuddly muffin". They became friends despite Lange's penchant for homophobic humor. Lange revealed on the air that Takei sent him a "lovely card" praising his guest performance on a 2007 episode of Entourage, in which Takei expressed the desire to one day act alongside Lange, and that the two talk at least once a week by telephone.

Personal life and activism

Private life

12.5.12GeorgeTakeiByLuigiNovi23
(left to right) Takei, Archie Comics publicity director Steven Scott, and Takei's husband Brad Altman at Midtown Comics in New York.
George Takei Chicago Gay & Lesbian Pride 2006
Takei at the Chicago Pride Parade in 2006

In October 2005, Takei revealed in an issue of Frontiers magazine that he is gay and had been in a committed relationship with his partner, Brad Altman, for 18 years; the move was prompted by then California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's veto of same-sex marriage legislation. He said, "It's not really coming out, which suggests opening a door and stepping through. It's more like a long, long walk through what began as a narrow corridor that starts to widen."[49][50] Nevertheless, Takei's sexuality had been an open secret among Star Trek fans since the 1970s, and Takei did not conceal his active membership in LGBT organizations, including Frontrunners, where he developed public friendships with openly gay couples such as Kevin and Don Norte.[51] In an on-air telephone interview with Howard Stern in December 2005, Takei explained, "[We (gay people)] are masculine, we are feminine, we are caring, we are abusive. We are just like straight people, in terms of our outward appearance and our behavior. The only difference is that we are oriented to people of our own gender." Takei also described Altman as "a saint" for helping to take care of Takei's terminally ill mother.

Takei currently serves[52] as a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign "Coming Out Project". In 2006 he embarked on a nationwide "Equality Trek" speaking tour sharing his life as a gay Japanese American, his 18-year relationship with Altman, Frontrunners, and Star Trek, encouraging others to share their own personal stories.[53][54] In the wake of the 2007 controversy over former NBA player Tim Hardaway, who had stated "I hate gay people", Takei recorded a mock public service announcement which began as a serious message of tolerance, then turned the tables on Hardaway by proclaiming that while he may hate gay people, gay people love him and other "sweaty basketball players", and promising Hardaway that "I will have sex with you". This was aired on Jimmy Kimmel Live!.[55] Takei also appeared on the Google float at San Francisco Pride 2007.[56]

In 2014, Takei raised $100,000 for an adult eagle scout to start a web series, titled Camp Abercorn, documenting his experiences in the Boy Scouts of America after he was forced to leave, due to their anti-gay adult policy. Takei stated, "As a former Boy Scout myself, it pains me deeply that the BSA still boots out gay Scouts when they turn 18, This web series will help educate and inform, as well as entertain. That gets a big thumbs up from me. Let's make this happen."[57]

In 2015, after the announcement of the U.S. Supreme Court same-sex marriage decision, Obergefell v. Hodges, Takei was critical of Clarence Thomas's dissent and called Thomas "a clown in blackface".[58] After defending his comments for over a week, Takei apologized for his wording.[58]

Takei was criticized for his response on Twitter to the shooting of Steve Scalise in June 2017. Calling Scalise "bigoted" and "homophobic", Takei criticized his previous opposition to same-sex marriage and noted that the officer who saved Scalise was a lesbian. Takei's response was widely criticized, with Jake Tapper calling it "unfathomable".[59][60][61]

Marriage

On May 16, 2008, Takei announced that he and Brad Altman would be getting married. They were the first same-sex couple to apply for a marriage license in West Hollywood.[62] On June 17, shortly after Takei and Altman obtained their marriage license, they spread the news by holding a press conference outside the West Hollywood city auditorium.[63] They were married on September 14, 2008, at the Democracy Forum of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, of which Takei is one of the founders and serves as a member of its board of trustees.[64] Walter Koenig was his best man, and Nichelle Nichols, eschewing the title "matron of honor", was "best woman". Reverend William Briones of the Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple of Los Angeles presided.[65]

Takei and Altman appeared in a celebrity edition of The Newlywed Game TV show, which the GSN cable network aired October 13, 2009. They were the first same-sex couple to be featured on the show.[66] Takei and Altman won the game, winning $10,000 for their charity, the Japanese American National Museum.[67]

In February 2010, Takei and Altman became the second same-sex couple to appear on the British game show All Star Mr & Mrs, losing to rugby star Phil Vickery and wife Kate.[68]

Politics

In 1972, Takei was an alternate delegate from California to the Democratic National Convention. The following year he ran for a seat on the Los Angeles City Council, finishing second of five candidates in the special election and losing by 1,647 votes; the winner received 42% of the votes cast and Takei received 33%. During the campaign, Takei's bid for the city council caused one local station to stop running the repeats of the original Star Trek series until after the election and KNBC-TV to substitute the premiere episode of the Star Trek animated series scheduled by the network with another in which his character did not appear, in attempts to avoid violating the FCC's equal-time rule. The other candidates in the race complained that Takei's distinctive and powerful voice alone, even without his image on television every week, created an unfair advantage.

Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley later appointed Takei to the board of directors of the Southern California Rapid Transit District, making him part of the team that initiated and planned the Los Angeles subway system. Takei was called away from the set of Star Trek: The Motion Picture in 1978 to cast the tie-breaking vote for the creation of the Los Angeles subway system. He served on the board from 1973 to 1984.[69]

In 1980, Takei began a campaign for California State Assemblyman (District 46) from the greater Los Angeles area. However, he chose to withdraw after his opponent challenged the airing of episodes of Star Trek on local television under the Federal Communication Commission's Fairness Doctrine "equal time" regulations,[70][71] saying also that "this is the wrong time to interrupt my career as an actor and author."[70] He also appeared as a sadistic Japanese POW camp commander in the World War II film Return from the River Kwai (1989).

In November 2010, Takei released a PSA blasting Clint McCance, who was at the time the vice president of the school board for the Midland School District in southern Independence County, Arkansas.[72] In the video, Takei repeatedly calls McCance "a douchebag". Takei's video was made as a response to McCance making blatantly homophobic remarks, stating that he "enjoys the fact that [gay people] give each other AIDS and die".[73] McCance went on to encourage gay people to commit suicide, and stated that he would disown his children if they were gay.[74] Clint McCance has since resigned from his job at the Midland school board. Takei has been praised for his response to McCance and garnered much media attention with his most recent PSA.

Takei serves as chair of the Council of Governors of East West Players, considered the foremost Asian Pacific American theater in the United States.[75]

GeorgeTakeiHWOFSept2012
Takei in September 2012

In May 2011, in response to a Tennessee State Legislature bill that prohibited school teachers or students from using any language that alludes to the existence of homosexuality (the "Don't Say Gay" bill), Takei released another PSA in which he offered up his name, suggesting that people could just substitute that for 'gay'. For example, they could support Takei Marriage or watch Takei Pride Parades; or even use slurs like That's so Takei.

Takei marked the 70th anniversary of the internment of Americans of Japanese descent, including himself as a child, by asking his readers to contact the US Congress to block S. 1253, the National Defense Authorization Act, that "would authorize a similar sweeping authority, granted to the President, to order the detention – without charge or trial – of any person even suspected of being associated with a 'terrorist organization'".[76]

On December 8, 2015, following Donald Trump's call to ban all Muslims from traveling to the United States, Takei appeared on MSNBC to denounce him: "It's ironic that he made that comment on December 7, Pearl Harbor Day — the very event that put us in those internment camps," Takei said. "[A congressional commission] found that it was three things that brought that about. One was racial hysteria, second was war hysteria and third was failure of political leadership. Donald Trump is the perfect example of that failure.... What Donald Trump is talking about is something that's going to make his logo 'America disgraced again.'"[77] During the transition following Trump's election, Carl Higbie cited the internment of Japanese Americans as a historical precedent for a register of Muslims.[78][79] Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a Trump advisor on immigration matters to Trump, was reportedly proposing the register as the first priority in a suite of proposals for the Department of Homeland Security[80][81] and as part of the "extreme vetting" of immigrants.[82] Takei quickly described Higbie's comments as "dangerous"[83] and went on to say on The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell that "[r]egistration of any group of people, and certainly registration of Muslims, is a prelude to internment."[84] Takei was not alone in his criticisms, Higbie also attracted criticism in the Washington Post,[85] The New York Times,[86] from Megyn Kelly of Fox News,[87] and from Representative Judy Chu (D–CA), who denounced them as "abhorrent" ideas "based on tactics of fear, division, and hate."[88] The constitutional basis of Higbie's idea was also challenged, even though the Supreme Court has not explicitly overturned Korematsu.[89] Constitutional lawyer Bruce Fein has argued that Korematsu has "joined Dred Scott as an odious and discredited artifact of popular bigotry,"[90] while Noah Feldman has declared that "Korematsu's uniquely bad legal status means it's not precedent even though it hasn't been overturned."[91] President-elect Trump's transition team have since issued a statement to The Huffington Post denying that Trump supports a Muslim registry.[84] This claim contradicts statements Trump made in 2015,[88][92][93] including those which Takei denounced,[77] and the newspaper noted that video evidence of Trump's statements is available.[84]

On March 31, 2017, Takei announced his intent to challenge Devin Nunes, Republican incumbent House Representative for the 22nd District of California.[94] A few hours later, he acknowledged that it had all been an April Fools' joke and instead announced his support for Jon Ossoff, who was running in Georgia's 6th congressional district special election, 2017.[95][96]

Religion

Takei is a Buddhist.[97] His father practiced Zen Buddhism and his mother practiced Shin Buddhism. She kept a small shrine when the family was incarcerated at an internment camp during World War II. After the war, Takei attended Sunday school at Senshin Buddhist Temple in Los Angeles, California. Takei and husband Brad Altman were married in 2008 at a Buddhist ritual performed by the Reverend William Briones.[98]

Anglophilia

Takei is an avid Anglophile. On his personal website he had this to say: "Those who know me know that I am an inconvertible Anglophile – or more broadly, a Britanophile, which includes my affection for Scotland and Wales as well. I love things British. My car is British. My wardrobe, to a good extent, is British. I even love the food in London – I think British food has shaken its prevailing perception as indigestible and become quite wonderful. I try to get to Britain for holidays as often as I can. I love things British."[99]

Facebook

George Takei 2013
Takei at the 2013 Florida SuperCon

Takei has also gained popularity for his Facebook page where his daily posts of humorous pictures (many of which are related to science fiction, LGBT culture and political satire) have attracted over 9 million followers,[100] some of whom are unfamiliar with Takei or Star Trek. He has been lauded as "the funniest guy on Facebook".[101][102] In September 2013, Takei used his Facebook page to defend Nina Davuluri, who was targeted by a backlash of racist and xenophobic comments after being named Miss America 2014.[103][104] He later appeared in a joint ABC interview with Davuluri, in which she revealed that she is a Trekkie. Takei told her, "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." Davuluri ended the interview by stating, "I have to say 'Live Long and Prosper'" at which point Takei offered her the Vulcan salute, which she returned.[105] However, Takei also attracted criticism from some people with disabilities in 2014 for his posting of a meme on Facebook and Twitter which shows a wheelchair-using woman standing up to reach something from the top shelf in a store and is captioned "there has been a miracle in the alcohol isle" [sic].[106] People with disabilities noted that people need not be paralyzed to need wheelchairs; Takei then removed the post and apologized on Facebook for his comments.[107]

Awards and recognition

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George Takei and David Henry Hwang discussing Allegiance at Columbia University in late 2015

In 1986, Takei was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame with a star at 6681 Hollywood Blvd for his work in television.[108]

In 2004, the government of Japan conferred upon Takei the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, which represents the fourth highest of six classes associated with the award. This decoration was presented in acknowledgment of his contributions to US-Japanese relations.[109]

Asteroid 7307 Takei is named in his honor. The citation from the NASA website reads:

7307 Takei. Discovered 1994 Apr. 13 by Y. Shimizu and T. Urata at Nachi-Katsuura.

George Takei (b. 1937) is an actor best known for his role as Mr. Sulu in the original Star Trek television series. He also has a lengthy record of public service through his involvement with organizations such as the Japanese American Citizens League and the Human Rights Campaign. The name was suggested by T. H. Burbine.[110]

Upon learning of the decision to name the asteroid after him, he said, "I am now a heavenly body. I found out about it yesterday. ... I was blown away. It came out of the clear, blue sky—just like an asteroid."[111]

In November 2007, Takei was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the San Diego Asian Film Festival.

In June 2012, the American Humanist Association gave Takei the LGBT Humanist Award.[112][113]

In May 2014, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation honored Takei with the GLAAD Vito Russo Award, which is presented to an openly LGBT media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equality for the LGBT community.[114]

In May 2015, the Japanese American National Museum honored Takei with the Distinguished Medal of Honor for Lifetime Achievement and Public Service at the Japanese American National Museum's 2015 Gala Dinner in Los Angeles.[115]

On June 10, 2016, California State University, Los Angeles presented Takei with an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters for his contributions.[113]

Filmography

Film

Year Film Role Format Notes
1957 Rodan! The Flying Monster Professor Kashiwagi (voiceovers only) English voice only U.S. version
1959 Godzilla Raids Again Commander of Landing Craft (voiceovers only) English voice only U.S. version
1960 Hell to Eternity George
1961 A Majority of One Butler
1964 (May) The Encounter - The Twilight Zone Arthur Takamori
1965 Red Line 7000 Kato
1966 Walk, Don't Run Police Captain
1968 The Green Berets Captain Nim
1972 Josie's Castle Ken Tanaka
1979 Star Trek: The Motion Picture Lt. Commander Sulu
1982 Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan Commander Sulu
1984 Star Trek III: The Search for Spock Commander Sulu
1986 Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home Commander Sulu
1989 Star Trek V: The Final Frontier Commander Sulu
1989 Return from the River Kwai Lieutenant Tanaka
1990 Blood Oath/Prisoners of the Sun Vice-Admiral Baron Takahashi
1991 Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country Captain Sulu
1993 Live by the Fist Uncle Coronado
1994 Oblivion Doc Valentine
1998 Mulan First Ancestor (voice) Animated
2004 Mulan II First Ancestor (voice) Animated
2008 The Great Buck Howard Himself[116]
2008 Ninja Cheerleaders Ninja Sensei Hiroshi
2008 Futurama: Bender's Game Himself (voice) Animated Cameo
2008 You Don't Mess with the Zohan Himself Cameo
2009 Scooby-Doo! and the Samurai Sword Old Man Samurai (voice) Animated
2011 Larry Crowne Dr. Ed Matsutani
2012 Strange Frame Tamadamsa (voice)
2013 Free Birds S.T.E.V.E. (voice)
2014 Eat with Me Himself
2014 To Be Takei Himself
2014 Axel: The Biggest Little Hero Elder (voice)
2015 Entourage Himself Cameo
2015 The Gettysburg Address Himself
2016 Kubo and the Two Strings Hosato (voice) Stop-motion
2018 Blazing Samurai Ohga (voice) Post-production

Television

Year Show Role Format Notes
1959 Perry Mason Toma Sakai Episode: "The Case of the Blushing Pearls"
1960 Assignment:Underwater Kenji Episode: "A Matter of Honor"
1964 The Twilight Zone Arthur Takamori Episode: "The Encounter"
1965 My Three Sons Won Tsun Episode: "The Hong Kong Story"
1965 Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea Major Lee Cheng Episode: "The Silent Saboteurs"
1965 Death Valley Days Wong Lee Episode: "The Book"
1966 Mission: Impossible Roger Lee Episode: "The Carriers"
1968 It Takes a Thief Wo Episode: "To Catch a Roaring Lion"
1966–1969 Star Trek Lt. Sulu Main cast, 52 episodes
1969 The Courtship of Eddie's Father Mr. Sato Episode: "Gentleman Friend"
1970 Marcus Welby, M.D. Fred Episode: "To Get Through the Night"
1971 Ironside Tsutomu Watari Episode: "No Motive for Murder"
1973–1974 Star Trek: The Animated Series Lt. Sulu Animated
1974 The Six Million Dollar Man Chin Ling Episode: "The Coward"
1975 Hawaii Five-0 Nathaniel Blake Episode: "Death's Name Is Sam"
1976 Black Sheep Squadron Maj. Kato Episode: "Up for Grabs"
1986 MacGyver Dr. Shen Wei Episode: "The Wish Child"
1987 Miami Vice Kenneth Togaru Episode: "By Hooker by Crook"
1987 Murder She Wrote Bert Tanaka Episode: "The Bottom Line is Murder"
1991–present The Simpsons Restaurant Owner, Akira, Waiter, Wink, The Game Show Host Animated Episodes: "One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish", "Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo", "A Hunka Hunka Burns in Love" & "What Animated Women Want"
1995 Kissinger and Nixon Lê Đức Thọ Television film
1996 3rd Rock from the Sun Himself Episode: "Hotel Dick"
1996 Spider-man Wong Animated Episode: "Doctor Strange"
1996 Star Trek: Voyager Capt. Sulu Episode: "Flashback"
1996–1997 Space Cases Warlord Shank
1996–2004 Hey Arnold! Kyo Heyerdahl Animated 2 episodes
1999 Batman Beyond Mr. Fixx Episodes: "Rebirth: Part 1" & "Rebirth: Part 2"
2002–2007 Kim Possible Master Sensei Animated
2002–2013 Futurama Himself/Hikaru Sulu Animated Episodes: "Where No Fan Has Gone Before", "Proposition Infinity", "Zapp Dingbat" & "Saturday Morning Fun Pit"
2002 Jackie Chan Adventures High Mystic Animated Episode: "The Chosen One"
2004 Scrubs Priest Episode: "My Best Friend's Wedding"
2005 Avatar: The Last Airbender Fire Nation prison warden Animated Episode: "Imprisoned"
2006 Malcolm in the Middle Himself Episode: "Hal Grieves"
2006 Psych Himself Episode: "Shawn vs. the Red Phantom"
2006 Will & Grace Himself Episode: "Buy, Buy Baby"
2007 Cory in the House Ronald Episode: "Air Force One Too Many" (missing info)
2007 El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera The Seventh Samurai Animated Episode: "Rising Son"
2007–2010 Heroes Kaito Nakamura
2008 Star Wars: The Clone Wars General Lok Durd Animated Episode: "Defenders of Peace"
2008 I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! Himself
2008–2009 Chowder Foie Gras Episodes: "Chowder and Mr. Fugu" & "Hands on a Big Mixer"
2009 Transformers: Animated Yoketron Animated Episode: "Five Servos of Doom"
2009 Party Down Himself Episode: "Stennheiser-Pong Wedding Reception"
2009 The Super Hero Squad Show Galactus Animated Episode: "Last Exit Before Doomsday!"
2010 The Big Bang Theory Himself Episode: "The Hot Troll Deviation"
2010 The Suite Life on Deck Rome Tipton Episode: "Starship Tipton"
2010 Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated Mr. Wang/White Wizard Episode: "The Dragon's Secret"
2010 Community Himself Episode: "Epidemiology"
2011–2013 Supah Ninjas Hologramps, Evil Grandpa Main character
2012, 2014 Archer Mr. Moto Episodes: "Drift Problem" & "Archer Vice: A Debt of Honor"
2010–2012 Adventure Time Ricardio the Heart Guy Episodes: "Ricardio the Heart Guy" & "Lady & Peebles"
2012 Hawaii Five-0 Uncle Choi Episode: "Kahu"
Plays Chin Ho Kelly's (Daniel Dae Kim) uncle
2012 The Celebrity Apprentice Himself/Contestant 16th place
4 episodes
2012–2013 Transformers: Prime Alpha Trion Animated Episodes: "Alpha/Omega" & "Rebellion"
2013 The New Normal Sam 1 episode
2013–2014 The Neighbors Supreme Commander/Father Recurring role
2013 Ultimate Spider-Man Elder Monk Episode: "Journey of the Iron Fist"
2013 Lost Girl Snake Man / Amphisbaena 1 episode
2014 King of the Nerds Himself 1 episode
2014 Real Husbands of Hollywood Himself Episode: "Don't Vote for Nick"
2014 Through the Keyhole Himself 1 episode[118]
2015 Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero Sashi's Dad Episode: "Flurgle Burgle"
2015 Hot in Cleveland Rev. Matsuda Episode: "Duct Soup"
2015 Miles from Tomorrowland Spectryx Episode: "The Neptune Adventure/Eye to Eye"[119][120]
2015 BoJack Horseman Audiobook Narrator Episode: "Brand New Couch"
2016 Bubble Guppies Major Bummer Animated Episode: "Space Guppies"
2016 Almost Royal Himself Episode: "Future"
2016 Elena of Avalor King Toshi of Satu Animated Episode: "Model Sister"[121]
2017 Fresh Off the Boat Bernard Episodes: "It's a Plastic Pumpkin, Louis Huang" & "The Day After Thanksgiving"
TBA The Terror Yamato-san Season 2

Internet, games, and commercials

Year Title Role Media Format Notes
1992 Star Trek: 25th Anniversary Hikaru Sulu Video game
1993 Star Trek: Judgment Rites Hikaru Sulu Video game
1997 Star Trek: Starfleet Academy Hikaru Sulu Video game
1999 Star Trek: Starfleet Command Hikaru Sulu Video game
2000 Star Trek: Starfleet Command II: Empires at War Hikaru Sulu Video game
2001 Ace Combat 4: Shattered Skies Omega 11 Video game Radio character
2003 Freelancer Hakera Video game
2004 Star Trek: Shattered Universe Hikaru Sulu Video game
2007 Star Trek New Voyages: Phase II Hikaru Sulu Web
2007 Pain Himself Video game
2008 Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 Emperor Yoshiro Video game
2010 Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet Galactus Video game
2012 Skylanders: Giants Arkeyan Conquertron/Drill-X Video game
2013 Rooms to Go Spokesperson TV commercial
2014 Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff Himself Video game
2017 Pizza Hut Himself TV commercial[122]
2017 Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow Himself Video game Playable character

Stage/theater

Year Production Role
1961 "Fly Blackbird!"[123] George
1974 "The Year of the Dragon" Fred Eng
1987 "Aladdin"[124] Genie[125]
1988 Shimon Wincelberg's "Undertow"[126]
1990 "The Wash"[127] Sadao Nakasato
2002 Stephen Sondheim's "Pacific Overtures"[128] Reciter
2005 Peter Shaffer's "Equus"[125] Martin Dysart[129]
2012 "8" William Tam (Ebell of Los Angeles)
2012 "Allegiance" Sam Kimura (present day) / "Ojii-San" (Grandpa) (1940s)

Bibliography

  • Takei, George; Asprin, Robert (1979). Mirror Friend, Mirror Foe. Playboy. Chicago. ISBN 0-87216-581-7.
  • Takei, George (1994). To the Stars: The Autobiography of George Takei. New York: Pocket Books. ISBN 0-671-89008-5.
  • Takei, George (2012). Oh Myyy! (There Goes the Internet). Oh Myyy! Limited Liability Company.
  • Takei, George (2013). Lions and Tigers and Bears (The Internet Strikes Back) (Life, the Internet and Everything). Oh Myyy! Limited Liability Company.

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External links

Allegiance (musical)

Allegiance is a musical with music and lyrics by Jay Kuo and a book by Marc Acito, Kuo and Lorenzo Thione. The story, set during the Japanese American internment of World War II (with a framing story set in the present day), was inspired by the personal experiences of George Takei, who stars in the musical. It follows the Kimura family in the years following the attack on Pearl Harbor, as they are forced to leave their farm in Salinas, California and are sent to the Heart Mountain internment camp in the rural plains of Wyoming.

The musical began development in 2008 and premiered in September 2012 in San Diego, California. It played on Broadway from October 2015 to February 2016. Reviews on Broadway were mixed, although the cast was generally praised.

Cheerleader Ninjas

Cheerleader Ninjas is a 2002 camp/action film directed by Kevin Campbell, starring actress Kira Reed, and from production company Control Track Productions. It predates the similarly-named George Takei comedic vehicle Ninja Cheerleaders. In the film, the internet must be rescued from the control of a religious fanaticism group by four cheerleader ninjutsu students and their geek allies. The movie was filmed at Englewood High School.

ClickHole

ClickHole (temporarily known as Cruft and PatriotHole) is a satirical website from The Onion that parodies clickbait websites such as BuzzFeed and Upworthy. It was launched on June 12, 2014, in conjunction with The Onion's decision to stop its print edition and shift its focus exclusively to the internet. According to ClickHole's senior editor, Jermaine Affonso, the website "is The Onion's response to click-bait content" and serves as "a parody of online media". Critics noted that, on a deeper level, ClickHole illustrates the shallow nature of social media content and media sites' desperation to share such content.

Epidemiology (Community)

"Epidemiology" is the sixth episode of the second season of the American comedy television series Community, and the 31st episode of the series overall. It originally premiered in the United States on NBC on October 28, 2010 as a special Halloween-themed episode. In the episode, the Dean throws a Halloween themed party on campus. During the party, a few of the partygoers become sick from eating an unknown substance, that the Dean mistook for taco meat, bought in an army surplus store. The sickness causes those affected to turn into a violent, zombie-like state that can be passed on through bites. As the study group try to escape, the Dean (under orders from the army) locks the doors, trapping them inside with the infected.

The episode was written by Karey Dornetto and directed by Anthony Hemingway, and also features the voice of George Takei. The episode's plot is a parody of various zombie and horror movies, with the infected students mimicking stereotypical zombies and various tropes of the genre being mocked. The episode received overwhelmingly positive reviews and was watched by 5.6 million viewers on its original airing.

Fangasm

Fangasm was a reality television show that screened on SyFy in 2013. The series followed seven people as they worked as interns for Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo (now known as the L.A. Comic Con), and included guests such as Stan Lee and George Takei. Although some felt that the series handled the subjects well, Fangasm was criticised by Andy Khourio as "nakedly exploitive of geek culture", and was accused of being created in order to promote Comikaze.

Hikaru Sulu

Hikaru Kato Sulu is a fictional character in the Star Trek media franchise. Originally known simply as "Sulu", he was portrayed by George Takei in the original Star Trek series. Sulu also appears in the animated Star Trek series, the first six Star Trek movies, one episode of Star Trek: Voyager, and in numerous books, comics, and video games. Sulu's first name, "Hikaru", appeared in a 1981 novel well over a decade after the original series had ended. John Cho assumed the role of the character in both the 2009 film Star Trek and its sequels, Star Trek Into Darkness and Star Trek Beyond.

Japanese American Internment Museum

The Japanese American Internment Museum, also known as the WWII Japanese American Internment Museum and the Jerome-Rohwer Interpretive Museum & Visitor Center, is a history museum in McGehee, Arkansas. The museum features exhibits regarding the area history of Japanese American internment in the 1940s when more than 17,000 Japanese Americans were housed at nearby Rohwer War Relocation Center and Jerome War Relocation Center during World War II. Exhibits include a film, oral histories, photographs, personal artifacts and some art made by internees, as well as changing art exhibitions.Visitors are encouraged to tour the remains of the Rohwer War Relocation Center, which is located about 17 miles away from the museum. The site includes a memorial, cemetery, interpretive panels and audio kiosks.The museum opened its doors on April 16, 2013 and is located in the south building of the historic McGehee Railroad Depot. It is one of several Arkansas State University Heritage Sites.The dedication ceremony for the museum featured George Takei giving a speech and his narration is also featured on a number of the audio displays.

Kissinger and Nixon

Kissinger and Nixon is a 1995 American drama film directed by Daniel Petrie and written by Lionel Chetwynd. It is based on the 1992 book Kissinger: A Biography by Walter Isaacson. The film stars Ron Silver, Beau Bridges, Ron White, George Takei, Kenneth Welsh and Tony Rosato. The film premiered on TNT on December 10, 1995.

Kubo and the Two Strings

Kubo and the Two Strings is a 2016 American stop-motion action fantasy film directed and produced by Travis Knight (in his directorial debut). It stars the voices of Charlize Theron, Art Parkinson, Ralph Fiennes, Rooney Mara, George Takei, and Matthew McConaughey. It is the fourth feature film produced by Laika. The film revolves around Kubo, a young boy who wields a magical shamisen (a Japanese guitar) and whose left eye was stolen during infancy. Accompanied by an anthropomorphic snow monkey and beetle, he must subdue his mother's corrupted Sisters and his power-hungry grandfather Raiden (The Moon King), who is responsible for stealing his left eye.

Kubo premiered at Melbourne International Film Festival and was released by Focus Features in the United States on August 19 to critical acclaim and grossed $77 million worldwide against a budget of $60 million. The film won the BAFTA Award for Best Animated Film at the 70th British Academy Film Awards and at the 89th Academy Awards, the film was nominated for Best Animated Feature Film and Best Visual Effects, becoming the second animated film ever to be nominated in the latter category following 1993's The Nightmare Before Christmas, and the first film to be nominated for both.

Lady

The word lady is a term of respect for a woman, the equivalent of gentleman. Once used to describe only women of a high social class or status, now it may refer to any adult woman. Informal use of this word is sometimes euphemistic ("lady of the night" for a prostitute) or, in American slang, condescending (equivalent to "mister").

"Lady" is also a formal title in the United Kingdom. "Lady" is used before the family name of a woman with a title of nobility or honorary title suo jure (in her own right), or the wife of a lord, a baronet, laird, or a knight, and also before the first name of the daughter of a duke, marquess, or earl.

Oblivion (1994 film)

Oblivion is a 1994 American western-science fiction dark comedy film directed by Sam Irvin and written by Peter David. It stars Richard Joseph Paul, Andrew Divoff, George Takei, Julie Newmar, Musetta Vander, Isaac Hayes and Meg Foster. It was followed by a sequel, Oblivion 2: Backlash. It was written by noted comic writer Peter David.

Proposition Infinity

"Proposition Infinity" ("Proposition ∞") is the fourth episode of the sixth season of the American animated television sitcom Futurama. It originally aired on Comedy Central in the United States on July 8, 2010. In the episode, Amy Wong and Bender fall in love and begin a culturally taboo "robosexual" relationship. After facing anti-robosexual sentiments from society, they elect to get married and advocate to legalize robosexual marriage through "Proposition Infinity".

The episode was written by Michael Rowe and directed by Crystal Chesney-Thompson. "Proposition Infinity" served as a satire of the controversy over same-sex marriage and California Proposition 8 (generally referred to as "Proposition 8"), which banned same-sex marriage in California in November 2008. The title of the episode is derived from Proposition 8, turning the 8 sideways to create the symbol for infinity (∞), hence "Proposition ∞". Though the episode satirizes arguments for same-sex marriage, it leans favorably toward the idea of allowing same-sex marriage. The theme of the episode revisits the social taboo of robosexual relationships presented in earlier episodes "Space Pilot 3000" and "I Dated a Robot". Openly gay actor George Takei of Star Trek fame, who married his partner in California during the debate over Proposition 8, returns as a guest star in the series.

"Proposition Infinity" received mostly positive reviews from critics. Co-creator David X. Cohen named it as one of his favorite episodes of the sixth season.

Quattron

Quattron is the brand name of an LCD color display technology produced by Sharp Electronics. In addition to the standard RGB (Red, Green, and Blue) color subpixels, the technology utilizes a yellow fourth color subpixel (RGBY) which Sharp claims increases the range of displayable colors, and which may mimic more closely the way the brain processes color information. The screen is a form of multi-primary color display, other forms of which have been developed in parallel to Sharp's version.The technology is used in Sharp's Aquos LCD TV product line, particularly in models with screens 40 inches across and larger. The technology, distinct from the product line, has been advertised featuring George Takei as the spokesperson in the debut commercial, in which he uses his catchphrase "Oh My". Another commercial had Takei advertising the 3-D model with the Minions from the 2010 movie "Despicable Me".

Ricardio the Heart Guy

"Ricardio the Heart Guy" is the seventh episode of the first season of the American animated television series Adventure Time. The episode was written and storyboarded by Bert Youn and Sean Jimenez, from a story by Merriwether Williams, Tim McKeon, and Adam Muto. It originally aired on Cartoon Network on April 26, 2010. The episode guest stars George Takei as the title character, Ricardio.

The series follows the adventures of Finn (voiced by Jeremy Shada), a human boy, and his best friend and adoptive brother Jake (voiced by John DiMaggio), a dog with magical powers to change shape and grow and shrink at will. In this episode, Finn believes that Princess Bubblegum's (voiced by Hynden Walch) new friend, a heart named Ricardio, is evil, and is proven right after learning that Ricardio is the heart of the Ice King (voiced by Tom Kenny). Ricardio reveals that he wants to "make out" with Bubblegum's heart, but he is defeated by Finn and Jake.

Ricardio would become a minor recurring villain, reappearing in the fourth season entry "Lady & Peebles". After the episode aired, series composer Casey James Basichis posted a video explaining his inspiration and the method in which he produced the music featured in the episode. Basichis largely scored the episode with opera music, because he felt the genre suited Ricardio. "Ricardio the Heart Guy" was watched by 1.91 million people and received largely positive critical attention, with many reviews praising Takei's voice work.

Sharp Aquos

The Sharp Aquos is a range of LCD televisions and component screens made by Sharp Corporation - Japan of Japan. It encompasses small, portable models (e.g. the 13" B series) up to large home-theater screens (e.g. 65" high-definition widescreen models), as well as component screens for portable devices including mobile phones. Aquos was first released in 2001 with 13", 15", and 20" 4:3 sizes starting, pricing at $1,799.99, $2,999.99, and $4,999.99 respectively. Since then, the Aquos brand is Sharp's premium LCD line (as Sharp also makes non-Aquos LCD TVs that sell for less), and recently they have been the first series of LCD HDTVs to feature integrated Blu-ray Disc players with the BD-60U and BD-80U series debuting in 2009. Some Aquos LCD TVs are notable for displaying color in a RYGB color space known as Quattron, which adds a yellow component, as opposed to the standard RGB color space used by most color televisions. Initial models in the Aquos range were designed by noted Japanese industrial designer Toshiyuki Kita. George Takei is the spokesman for the line.Aquos televisions run a Linux-based operating system. Sharp's SmartLink technology was incorporated into the Aquos LC-15L1U-S.

The Encounter (Twilight Zone)

"The Encounter" is episode 151 of the American television series The Twilight Zone. First broadcast on May 1, 1964, its racial overtones caused it to be withheld from syndication in the U.S. On January 1, 2016, the episode was finally re-aired as part of Syfy's annual Twilight Zone New's Year Eve marathon.

The Hot Troll Deviation

"The Hot Troll Deviation" is the fourth episode of the fourth season of the US sitcom The Big Bang Theory and the 67th episode of the show overall. It first aired on CBS on October 14, 2010. In the episode, Howard and Bernadette go on a date following their breakup a few months prior. Sheldon and Raj engage in a series of "tit for tat" exchanges when working together. The title refers to Howard's virtual affair with a troll on World of Warcraft.

The episode features guest appearances by actors Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica) and George Takei (Star Trek). They appear during Howard's fantasy and later, when Howard and Bernadette are "making out" in her car. Melissa Rauch became part of the main cast in this episode.

"The Hot Troll Deviation" was watched by 12.57 million viewers with a Nielsen rating of 7.6/13 in the U.S. It received mixed reviews and ratings.

The Simpsons (season 27)

The Simpsons' twenty-seventh season began airing on Fox in the United States on September 27, 2015, and ended on May 22, 2016. On October 28, 2014, executive producer Al Jean announced that Season 27 went into production, renewing the series through the 2015–16 season.The season premiere deals with Homer being diagnosed with narcolepsy, his breaking up with Marge, and falling for a pharmacist. Guest stars for this season include Blake Anderson, Kristen Bell, David Copperfield, Lena Dunham, Kelsey Grammer, Nick Kroll, Yo-Yo Ma, Edward James Olmos, Kevin Michael Richardson, and George Takei. Carl Zealer, who won a competition to be animated into The Simpsons, appeared in the episode "Halloween of Horror".

This is the last season to be produced by Film Roman and the last to credit Sam Simon as producer due to his death in 2015.

On May 14, 2015, showrunner Al Jean announced that veteran Simpsons voice actor Harry Shearer had left the show to pursue other work after his contract expired. However, on July 7, he returned to the show after signing a new deal with five other cast members.

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