George Takei Named Grand Marshal for Chicago's 37th Annual Pride Parade

Tue. May 16, 2006 12:00 AM

Chicago, IL - George is best known for his portrayal of Mr. Sulu on the classic television series, Star Trek and in six subsequent Star Trek films. He made international headlines when he came out to the public last Fall. This Spring, he embarked on a national speaking tour as a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Coming Out Project during which he shared his story and encouraged others to talk about their lives as well.

George has more than 30 feature films and hundreds of television guest-starring roles to his credit. Recognized worldwide as a member of the original Star Trek cast, he received a star on Hollywood Boulevard's Walk of Fame in 1986.

George's distinctive voice is featured in Walt Disney Pictures' full-length animated features Mulan and Mulan II, Star Trek audio novel recordings, Fox Television's The Simpsons, Futurama, and in numerous voice-overs and narrations. Earlier this year he appeared as announcer and on-air personality on the debut week of the Howard Stern Show on Sirius Satellite Radio. Recently, he had a starring role in a Los Angeles production of Equus, as well as an appearance on the final season of NBC's Will and Grace.

A community activist, George is a member of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) which works for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights. He also serves as chair of the council of governors of East West Players, the nation's foremost Asian Pacific American theater. He is chairman emeritus of the board of trustees of the Japanese American National Museum and a past member of the advisory committee of the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program.

As told in his autobiography, To the Stars, published by Pocket Books in 1994, George was born in Los Angeles, California. With the outbreak of World War II, he and his family together with 120,000 other Japanese Americans were placed behing barbed-wire enclosures of United States internment camps for several years. His family eventually returned to his native Los Angeles, which shaped his acting career.

As part of his Human Rights Campaign (HRC) tour, he discusses his life as a gay Japanese-American. He speaks about the fact that he is taking a stand against anti-gay bigotry. He talks about how diversity is a strength of this country and that there has got to be a recognition of people with different orientations.

His HRC duties have sometimes included 14 hour days at multiple appearances around the country meeting and greeting GLBT'S (gays) and allies. (Part of the audience often includes Star Trek fans of all ages).

Over the years, to keep fit, George has been an avid runner. He has been involved in a Los Angeles based GLBT running group.

Always a political activist, George ran for the Los Angeles City Council in 1973, losing by a small percentage. He was appointed by Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley to the board of directors of the Southern California Rapid Transit District, serving from 1973 to 1984. He also served as vice president of the American Public Transit Association.

George (and his life partner of 19 years, Brad Altman) are residents of Los Angeles, and will be riding in a front vehicle in this year's parade.

PRIDEChicago is also reminding potential parade entries, that the registration cut-off date is June 10, or until all 250 allocated positions are filled, whichever comes first.

The 37th Annual Pride Parade steps off at Belmont and Halsted on Sunday June 25, 2006 at 12 Noon.

Pictured Above: George Takei and partner of 19 years, Brad Altman