George Hosato Takei Altman (born April 20, 1937) is an American actor of Japanese descent, best known for his role in the television series Star Trek, in which he played Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the USS Enterprise. He is an outspoken proponent of gay rights and active in state and local politics as well as continuing his acting career. He has won several awards and accolades in his work on human rights and Japanese-American relations, including his work with the Japanese American National Museum.
Takei was born in Los Angeles, California in 1937. He was named after King George VI who ascended the throne the same year. In 1942, the Takei family was originally housed in the horse stables of Santa Anita Park before being sent to the Rohwer War Relocation Center for internment in Arkansas. The family was later transferred to the Tule Lake War Relocation Center in California. Despite this experience, the family developed a renewed dedication and remained involved in the American democratic process. He and his family returned to Los Angeles at the end of World War II. He attended Mount Vernon Junior High School, where he served as student body president, and Los Angeles High School.
Upon graduation from high school Takei then enrolled in the University of California at Berkeley where he studied architecture. Later he attended the University of California at Los Angeles, where he received a bachelor of arts in theater in 1960 and a master of arts in theater in 1964. He attended the Shakespeare Institute at Stratford-Upon-Avon in England, and Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan. In Hollywood, he studied acting at the Desilu Workshop. Takei is fluent in English and Japanese.