Wednesday, November 30, 2016

George Takei installed into California Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame inductees, from top left, clockwise: Maria Shriver, Harrison Ford, Corita Kent, Russ Solomon,  Isabel Allende, William J. Perry, George Take and Tony Gwynn

GEORGE TAKEI, best known for his portrayal of Hiraku Sulu, helmsman for the Starship Enterprise, was among the eight people inducted into California's Hall of Fame today (Nov. 30).

“I am a proud second generation Californian, humbled to be honored by a state singular in its beauty, diversity and dynamism,” said Takei in a statement. “To be inducted to join the inspiring trail blazers in the arts, industry, academia, sports and political affairs is an honor beyond words. This is truly the Golden State.”

Besides Takei, the 10th class of California Hall of Fame inductees included: acclaimed author Isabel Allende; film icon Harrison Ford; baseball legend Tony Gwynn; distinguished artist and social justice advocate Corita Kent; former U.S. Secretary of Defense and nuclear deterrence expert William J. Perry; groundbreaking journalist and former First Lady of California Maria Shriver; and music business pioneer Russ Solomon.

Takei is the fifth Asian/American inducted into the Hall since it was first launched by Shriver and her then-husband, Gov. Arnold Swarzeneggar. Already inducted are actor and martial artist Bruce Lee, author Amy Tan, Olympic skating gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi and Dr. David Ho, who was instrumental in developing the HIV cocktail that reduces mortality from AIDS. 
Best known for his portrayal of Mr. Sulu in the acclaimed television and film series Star Trek, Takei is also a social justice activist, social media mega-power. His acting career has spanned five decades, with more than 40 feature films and hundreds of television guest-starring roles to his credit. In 2014, To Be Takei, a documentary on his life and career, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, and was later released across North America.
George Takei said that his grandmother was born in Sacramento.
After receiving the medal from Gov. Jerry Brown, Takei told the audience that his grandparents farmed in the Sacramento area. “My roots go down very deep in this soil, so it is with great pride and humility that I receive this recognition,” he said.
During World War II, Takei and his family were placed behind barbed wire in U.S. internment camps along with 120,000 other Japanese/Americans. Inspired by this difficult chapter of American history, Takei developed the musical Allegiance, in which he starred alongside Lea Salonga. Allegiance’s record-breaking world premiere in San Diego in 2012 won multiple awards, and was followed by a Broadway run in 2015-2016.

Now a community activist, Takei serves as chair of the council of governors of East West Players and is a member of the Human Rights Campaign, the largest national LGBT political organization. He is Chairman Emeritus of the Japanese American National Museum’s Board of Trustees; a member of the US-Japan Bridging Foundation Board of Directors; and served on the Board of the Japan-United States Friendship Commission.

Takei is also a best-selling author and a social media superstar with over 9.7 million “likes” on Facebook and 1.7 million followers on Twitter. In 2015 the YouTube series “It Takeis Two” premiered, starring Takei with his husband, Brad Takei. The couple was married at the Japanese American National Museum on Sept. 14, 2008.

The 2016 California Hall of Fame exhibit will open at 10 a.m. the following day, Dec. 1, with a display of artifacts like Ford's Indiana Jones costume from Raiders of the Lost Ark, Takei's uniform for Sulu from the 1986 film Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Allende's 2014 Presidential Medal of Freedom Award and six of Kent's original silk screen prints.

"California is the land of dreamers and innovators, where anything is possible,” said Caroline Beteta, president and CEO of Visit California, the California Hall of Fame’s title sponsor. “This year’s inductees are diverse pioneers who embody the Golden State’s iconic lifestyle and culture of possibility, which inspires people from all over the world to visit.”