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George Takei: A Tweet Success

As he launches his new AARP YouTube series, the 'Star Trek' icon and Twitter star reflects on his life’s remarkable journey

George Takei as Hikaru Sulu (CBS via Getty Images)

To this day, George Takei is in many ways defined by his iconic role as Mr. Sulu, helm officer of the U.S.S. Enterprise and member of the "Star Trek" series' original cast. — CBS via Getty Images

Takei Takes On YouTube

George Takei is looking forward to helping America's 50-plus population become more comfortable with social media.

"I think there are so many people who are skittish about venturing into what they're not used to," he says. "They're quite comfortable sending letters with stamps on them.

"Take my own sister," Takei says. "She doesn't have a computer! She doesn't even like to answer the telephone; we always have to leave messages for her! She's weird that way. And I tell her, 'You've got to at least be able to let us send you emails!' She says she's gonna do it, she's gonna do it … but she doesn't do it! She does go see my movies and she does watch me on television. I think if I tell her 'I'm performing on the computer,' then she might get one."

"I feel very blessed to be actively engaged like this," he says. "That's the way life should be for all of us."

Now George Takei is launching a new phase of his 60-year career: He's hosting Takei's Take, a biweekly show on AARP's YouTube channel. He'll bring his unique outlook to a wide range of issues, including current events, pop culture and what's new in social media and on YouTube.

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"It was a very intriguing offer from AARP," he says. "This is an opportunity to get more people in on the wonderful blessings that our generation now has: the advances that have been made — not only in medicine, fitness and good health, but also in staying mentally and physically engaged."

Tales From Two Cities

A native Californian, Takei splits his time between his Los Angeles home and Manhattan condo. He recalls with a laugh the first time he ventured east, as a 22-year-old actor, on the vague promise from a producer that he could audition for a part in an off-Broadway play.

"I didn't get the part," he says. But for two years he stayed put, trying to make it. "I remember writing my parents that I was staying at The Sloane House. That was another name for the 34th Street YMCA. But I told them 'The Sloane House,' which made them feel very comfortable!"

For two years young Takei was the prototypical struggling actor, "loading trucks in Long Island City, typing labels at a publishing firm, selling ties at B. Altman and Ohrbach's. It was two years, but it seemed like 20 years." Returning to L.A., Takei found steady work on TV shows — among them The Twilight Zone, Death Valley Days, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, My Three Sons and I Spy.

Then in 1966 a little show named Star Trek aired. After scraping around to find viewers for three seasons, the show disappeared from the airways, but not from the hearts of its rabid fan base. To this day, Takei is in many ways defined by his iconic role as Mr. Sulu, helm officer of the U.S.S. Enterprise.

Next page: George Takei pursues a lifelong dream. »

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