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Star Trek’s George Takei on Leonard Nimoy: He Represented the Best of an Inclusive American Society

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Leonard Nimoy, who played Mr. Spock in the Star Trek television series and movies, died in February at the age of 83. We speak to his Star Trek co-star, George Takei, who said, “Leonard played an alien, but he was the most human individual I ever met.”

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: George, you talk about inclusiveness, and I wanted to end by asking you about your friend, former castmate on Star Trek, Leonard Nimoy. He passed away in February. He played Spock, while you were the Starship Enterprise helmsman Sulu. You’ve said that Leonard Nimoy came to see a screening of your documentary, To Be Takei, while he was ill, and have said that, quote, “Leonard played an alien, but he was the most human individual I ever met.” Can you talk about the difference he made in this issue of inclusion, and what he meant to you?

GEORGE TAKEI: Leonard was truly an extraordinary person, because apart from being a brilliantly gifted actor, he was socially conscious. For example, when Star Trek became an animated feature, they hired—they had a very limited budget. And so, they hired just Leonard, William Shatner, Jimmy Doohan and Majel Barrett to do the voices for their characters and all other voices. Majel did the female voices, the others did the male voices. But when Leonard found out about that, he said, “This show is about diversity. The two people that most represent diversity are Nichelle Nichols, who played Uhura, and George Takei, who played Sulu. And if they can’t be a part of this show, then I’m not interested in doing it.” And he said he’s going to walk away from it. That was a very rare act, to walk away from a job. Very few actors would do that. Leonard did that. He was a good and supportive friend throughout. And we had a diverse cast. And he embraced and we embraced him. And we were great—well, I considered him a very good friend. Came to all of the stage plays that I did, and came backstage to tell me what he thought. He was a great guy. And he represents the best of an inclusive American society.

AMY GOODMAN: George Takei, we want to thank you for being with us, legendary actor and gay rights activist, speaking to us today from Philadelphia. This is Democracy Now! When we come back, we’re going to talk about Kenya, the horrific massacre that took place there, 147 people, mainly university students, killed. Stay with us.

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