Star Trek's 'Sulu' comes out
George Takei, the actor best known for portraying Mr. Sulu on Star Trek, has publicly "come out" to a Los Angeles-based gay and lesbian magazine.
Takei disclosed his homosexuality in an article published in Frontiers magazine Wednesday, the same day he debuted in a production of Equus at the David Henry Hwang Theater in Los Angeles.
Though the 68-year-old actor has been with his partner, Brad Altman, for 18 years, he said Thursday that the current social and political climate and the new theatre role helped inspire him to talk publicly about his homosexuality.
"The world has changed from when I was a young teen feeling ashamed for being gay," he told the Associated Press. "The issue of gay marriage is now a political issue. That would have been unthinkable when I was young."
In the psychological stage drama Equus, Takei plays a "very contained but turbulently frustrated" psychologist investigating a teen stable boy who has savagely attacked some horses. The play was also adapted for film in 1977 by Sidney Lumet, with Richard Burton in the lead role.
Takei, who is of Japanese-American descent, lived in a U.S. internment camp from the age of four to eight. After growing up feeling ashamed of his ethnic background and his sexuality, he said he has been gradually coming out to his family and friends over the years.
In an interview this week, he said the revelation through the magazine was "not really coming out, which suggests opening a door and stepping through. It's more like a long, long walk through what began as a narrow corridor that starts to widen."
Takei is best known for his role as Hikaru Sulu, the helmsman of the Enterprise on the classic 1960s Star Trek TV series. He also joined the rest of the cast in the franchise's six subsequent films and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1986.