George Takei: Immortal Honoree
While George Takei is most well-known for his role as Hikaru Sulu in Star Trek, he has portrayed an extensive list of characters in television, movies and theater. From Mulan to Return from the River Kwai, and TV series like Heroes to Hawaii Five-0 (the original and remake), his diversity is apparent. That being said, it should come as no surprise that he was our Immortal Honoree this week for Ride of Fame.
George’s long list of achievements in these industries is not all that make him an Immortal Honoree; it is also his large role in the Human Rights Campaign, along with his unlikely social media presence. It is only natural to assume that someone in their 70’s would not entirely understand the world of social media, but it is quite apparent the George Takei has conquered it.
With well over nine million followers on Facebook, George Takei has a large platform with which he not only discusses relevant social issues, but also shares the latest cat pictures or fail videos that he finds entertaining (as do his followers). I think the growth of his fan base can be attributed to the fact that he actually enjoys interacting with them.
In an interview with Forbes, Takei said, “I also appreciate that fans can ‘send’ me notes simply by posting on my wall, and I have a direct and immediate way to thank or acknowledge them.” Mashable.com named Takei the most-influential person on Facebook.
He is active in politics and a leader in fighting for LGBT rights. He and his now husband, Brad Takei, were the first same-sex couple in West Hollywood to apply for a marriage license and were married on September 14, 2008.
Takei was awarded the LGBT Humanist Award by the American Humanist Association. He was also awarded by Japan for his contribution in helping Japanese-US relations.
While he always has many projects going on, he is currently focusing on the Broadway musical, Allegiance. According to the show’s website, “Inspired by the true life experience of its star George Takei, Allegiance follows one family’s extraordinary journey in this untold American story.”
Reading about how Allegiance came to fruition is a truly inspiring story. In 2008, George and Brad were randomly seated next to Jay Kuo and Lorenzo Thione for two shows in the same week. They got to talking and, after Kuo and Thione heard the story of Takei’s family, they mentioned to Takei that his family’s story would make a great show. That conversation blossomed into a partnership that would eventually lead to a debut on Broadway this past November.
Back in 2011, George Takei was able to use his platform on Facebook to raise the money necessary to get the show started.
When we held the Ride of Fame event for George this past week, I was able to witness the sincerity with which he interacts with fans – patiently giving them each one on one time, taking pictures with them and encouraging them to come see Allegiance.
His speech was genuine, as he expressed his love for New York City, and what an honor it is to have a bus with his face on it, showing people all around (with a stop at Longacre Theater, of course).
When he was signing picture after picture, I exclaimed, “Your signature is perfect every single time!” With which he replied, “It is not perfect, I am not perfect.” What an honor to have prominent man, who emanates such humility, be our Ride of Fame Immortal Honoree.