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On ‘Real Time with Bill Maher’, the comedic talk show host congratulated guest George Takei on his “amazing second act,” and it’s well deserved.  Somehow Takei has accomplishing something that… well NO other stars from his era have.  48 years after beaming into homes across the country as Hikaru Sulu, the helmsman of the Starship Enterprise on the original ‘Star Trek’, the actor has suddenly emerged as one of the most beloved icons in the country, thanks in no small part to his witty Twitter and Facebook posts, which are frequently reposted by fans.  He even has a documentary, ‘It’s Okay To be Takei’ making the rounds on the festival circuit.

Takei who has been openly gay for most of his career, came out publicly in 2005 and wed his longtime partner Brad Altman in 2008 and has been one of the most outspoken proponents for gay rights and isn’t afraid to stand up to public figures who express anti-LGBTQ opinions.  His popularity with the general public certainly helps, as attitudes continue to shift toward more equality.

On ‘Real Time,’ Takei discussed his famous feud with ‘Star Trek’ co-star William Shatner.  Takei describes the former Captain Kirk by saying “He is Canadian. And Canadians have a certain image of being even-tempered and friendly and all that.  Well, he is a person who is that way … with himself. He is very self-centered.”  (Despite this, Takei appeared on Shatner’s Comedy Central Roast in 2006.)

When the conversation turned to gay rights, Takei reveals that nearly the entire cast of ‘Star Trek’ knew that he was gay, even back then.  “Except for one member of the cast. It went right over his head.”  Maher responded with his guess as to whom.

Maher points out that beneath its colorful science fiction veneer, that ‘Star Trek’ was very political, referring (not by name) to the Cheron, who were white on one side of their body and black on the other.  Takei points out that Kirk actually kissed a black woman (Lt. Uhura) but the episode was blacked out in the south and the ratings for the show plummeted.

He revealed that he’d approached ‘Trek’ creator Gene Roddenberry about doing a gay-themed episode, but Roddenberry pointed out the reaction to the interracial kiss.  Takei expressed that he understood because he understood how television works.

You can watch the full interview below.

It’s always fun to get a glimpse behind the curtain and learn about what goes on when our favorite shows’ cameras aren’t rolling.  What do you think?

Source:  The Wrap