TORONTO — George Takei, who brought Mr. Sulu to life in the original Star Trek series, is still going at warp speed at the age of 76.
When he’s not attending sci-fi conventions, the actor is advocating for equal rights, working on bringing his musical Allegiance to Broadway, communicating with millions of fans via social media or shooting a guest role in the made-in-Toronto Showcase series Lost Girl.
Life has been good for the veteran actor — mostly.
Appearing on Global’s The Morning Show on Wednesday, Takei shared memories of his family being forced out of their California home and placed in internment camps during World War II. Though he was only five years old when U.S. soldiers marched up his driveway, he said he will never forget the image of tears running down his mother’s face.
Takei also recounted a heated conversation he had with his father several years later.
“I said, ‘Daddy, you led us like sheep to slaughter when you took us into the internment camp.’ Suddenly he was silent and I realized that I had hit a nerve,” recalled Takei. “Then my father got up and said, ‘Well, maybe you’re right.’ He went into the bedroom and closed the door. I felt terrible. My father had suffered so much during those internment years and I hurt him again as a teenager.”
Takei said he never apologized for his words. “That’s a regret that’s going to haunt me,” he said.
Takei has made peace, though, with his Star Trek co-star, Montreal native William Shatner.
“Bill is a fantastic actor and Captain Kirk is his singular creation, it’s his metabolism, his talent,” he said on Global’s News at Noon. “He is a leader and he is someone who enjoys being in the centre of it, and it was the ideal role for him. But an actor knows that the scene works better when everybody’s contributing to it. Bill has a different interpretation, and that made it difficult for the entire ensemble.”
Takei praised John Cho, who portrayed Sulu in 2009’s Star Trek reboot and this year’s Star Trek Into Darkness (a movie Takei calls “terrific”).
“He was very skittish about getting cast in the whole Star Trek phenomenon,” Takei said. “I told him, ‘You’re a talented actor. Don’t worry, it won’t be long before I’ll be known as the old guy who played John Cho’s part.”