George Takei: Star Trek Cast Were ‘Cool’ About Him Being Gay + Talks Shatner Feud & Roddenberry [VIDEO]


George Takei was on HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher on  Friday night and his feud with Star Trek co-star William Shatner came up with Takei taking a few shots at Bill. He also talked about his attempt to get Gene Roddenberry to tackle LGBT issues. Watch the segment below.

Takei on Real Time – Talks Roddenberry, Shatner, and LGBT Issues On Star Trek

During Friday night’s Real Time with Bill Maher George Takei talked about how the original Star Trek took on on social issues and how Takei did pitch Gene Roddenberry to take on gay issues metaphorically. Takei explained how Roddenberry responded….

Well [Gene Roddenberry] said “we do use metaphor to deal with contemporary issues" but he was he was treading a really tight rope because he was dealing with issues. Television is not known for dealing with contemporary issues and he said that if he pushed the envelope too far, then he wouldn’t be able to deal with any issue at all.

Takei also noted that he was open with his sexuality with the original Star Trek cast, saying…

As a matter of fact my [Star Trek] colleagues did know, but they were cool about it because they know if they made a public statement about it my career would be destroyed. …except for one member of the cast, it went right over his head*….At the end of the week we had our wrap parties and they bring their wives or husbands or boyfriends or girlfriends and I quite regularly brought a buddy.

After some back and forth Takei seemed to confirm it was Shatner who never figured out he was gay. Through the segment Takei took a few swipes at Shatner,including cracks about Bill’s hairline, self-absorption, and more. Maher actually said that the feud "breaks my heart" because he is such a fan of Star Trek.

Watch the segment below (via HBO and Mediate)


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*lol* Shatner.
Great to hear they were cool about it.
Makes me proud to be a Trekkie. :)

the audience did not like it when Sulu started bad mouthing Kirk :(

George needs to let it go. He was a day player, Shatner was the star, carrying the show. Why would Bill give him any more attention than he did?

It’s kind of sad that Takei still holds such a grudge against Shatner.

Is he just going to hate and resent the guy until one of them dies?

If Takei is going to make snide comments about Shatner all the time, he should clearly state his grievances. This sort of unspecified resentment of Shatner coming from Takei all the time just comes across as grudge-holding intransigence.

Takei was invited to Shatner’s Roast…Shatner had Walter Koenig on Shatner’s Raw Nerve to try to make amends…he specifically asked Koenig to express his grievances…Shatner reached out to Nichelle Nichols as well…I’m not saying that Shatner has done “enough” or that Shatner doesn’t have personality flaws…and whatever Shatner’s reason for snubbing James Doohan when he was close to death, I can’t imaging it being anything but unacceptable—Shater’s a flawed man, no argument about that.

But Shatner at least seems to be aware that he’s flawed and tries to make amends. I don’t get the impression from Takei that he’s at all interested in trying to understand or resolve his differences with Shatner. Either talk about whatever is bothering you and try to resolve your differences, or agree to disagree. This constant cattiness is unbecoming and uninspiring.

#3 – Really? I think that attitude sucks. Why would Bill give him more attention than he did? Because George is part of the show and a fellow human being. Why not?

Star Trek is not just Capt Kirk, but the crew of the Enterprise. Takei was the navigator, and just as vital to the operation as Kirk.

I think Takei continues with this one sided feud for the media attention it brings him. Pathetic.

#5 Star Trek was not JUST Kirk but to say that Sulus character was just as important or vital is clearly off the mark. Star Trek without Sulu (or anyone other than the big 3) wouldve gone on successfully. Remove Kirk or Spock from the equation and the show wouldve ended. Im a big fan of the supporting cast but they werent in the opening credits. Trek was built around Shatner as Kirk, then Spock and eventually McCoy was given star billing but it was always intended to be Shatner’s show.

The “feud” is a publicity stunt. George (and/or his people) is an expert at publicity and social media.

Oh George, get over it. Bill doesn’t love you and never will. I believe he likes da ladies dude.
There are plenty more old and gay fish in the sea, man.

@6. Mel,
“I think Takei continues with this one sided feud for the media attention it brings him. Pathetic.”

As opposed to Shatner’s endless and humiliating attention grabbing stunts? Pathetic indeed. It’s what old, has been actors with massive egos do to keep the fuzzy fringes of the spotlight illuminating their furiously tap-dancing feet.

There are no innocent parties here, just two sides of the same coin.

Nimoy is a class act in contrast, as were Kelley, and Doohan; and Nichols, and Koenig still are. Aside from Shatner and Takei, the rest live their lives off the radar. But I’ll tell you this, at least Takei uses his infamous celebrity to further a worthy cause, I’m not sure what Shatner does except feed his ego.

Just off the top of my head, #9, The Hollywood Charity Horse Show.
Donating a kidney stone’s auction proceeds to a charity.
But don’t let Bill’s charitable work get in the way of your dislike of him.
Takei is a bitter old man. Its sad, but that’s up to him I guess.

#9. Curious Cadet – July 19, 2014

Most of Shatner’s horsing around supports his charities:

8 – Exactly.

Takei needs to stop acting like a jerk.

@10. Buzz Cagney,


William Shatner may have been a jerk at times over the years, but Takei is proving he’s no better himself.

In fact, Sulu wouldn’t be where he is today if it wasn’t for Shatner. Shatner, along with Nimoy and Kelley, made Star Trek into a phenomenom.

Shatner has tried numerous times to bury the hatchet, but “George Tacky” has to always take a cheap shot or two at the man.

I would guess that Takei harbours some jealousy towards Shatner and can’t get over the fact Shatner and Kirk are far more popular than he and Sulu will ever be.

I think Takei is the best actor of the three minor Bridge characters, and it IS a shame that he wasn’t given more of a chance to show us what he can do. That said, Shatner’s energy and charisma were essential to the show, and while Star Trek would have succeeded just fine with another face in the helmsman’s place, it might not have succeeded with another captain.

I think one of the things that the bit-part actors overlook is how incredibly BUSY the main-character actors were, and Shatner most of all. Shatner was in nearly every scene, and he had huge quantities of dialogue to memorize every single day. It’s easy to memorize your lines when you have two “Aye, Sirs” and one “This is the first time I’ve heard a malfunction threaten us;” it’s a lot harder when you have pages and pages and PAGES of dialogue.

Given how quickly they were forced to film the show, how many lines Shatner had, and how much energy he was putting out in nearly every scene, I’m not surprised that he didn’t have the time or energy left for taking much notice of the bit-part actors. Given how much he had to do and how high-energy his role was, I’m amazed the man didn’t fall over!

I think it’s true that at this point Takei’s “feud” with Shatner is mostly for show, to stay in the limelight. But I think underneath that he really IS bitter and holds on to his resentment, which is sad.

Shatner has publicly acknowledged his failings and tried to make amends to his old castmates. While some will laugh at and mock him for taking just about any gig that will get him in front of a camera, (he IS an actor after all), I think Shatner has proven he’s the better man.

Why can’t these two simply bury the damn hatchet already? I mean enough is enough! The show promoted peace and tried to find solutions for simple everyday issues, and yet Bill and George are still feuding over….well I don’t even know what. I think it’s time to finally let it go. It’s not like they’re going to live forever. Old age will eventually catch up to them and then they wont have the chance to settle their differences. Better to do it now than to not have the chance to do it later.

Takei’s shots at Shatner just become more pathetic year after year. He really comes across as bitter. And yeah, Shatner can come across as arrogant, but he does have a point when it comes to Takei’s limited involvement with TOS. Did Takei have more than 30 real lines of dialogue in the entire 3-year run of the original show?

@11. Buzz Cagney,
“The Hollywood Charity Horse Show. Donating a kidney stone’s auction proceeds to a charity.”

More opportunities to put himself in the limelight.

Anybody can donate money to a charity, and lend their celebrity to upscale, elitist fundraisers. Takei is fighting for civil rights issues, and has taken personal and professional risks throughout his life to do so.

@10. Curious Cadet
“[…]Takei uses his infamous celebrity to further a worthy cause, I’m not sure what Shatner does except feed his ego.”

Surely you aren’t meaning to suggest that feeding an actor’s ego isn’t a worthy cause?

@21. Curious Cadet

“Takei is fighting for civil rights issues”

He might be fighting for civil rights, but he is not acting in a civil way when he can’t let go of that old “feud”. It is just a publicity stunt on his part.

@19. Mikey1091
“The show promoted peace and tried to find solutions for simple everyday issues[…]”

Reading half the blog “conversations”, you’d never know it, would you? [le sigh]

Takei’s continued sniping and cheap shots at Shatner only make him look small and petty. If, heaven forbid, Star Trek had gone the way of most shows from the 60s, we wouldn’t even know Takei exists today. I agree with 3,4,6,7,8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, especially 17, 18 and 20. Surprise, Shatner may not be perfect. I’m not either, nor is anyone else on this planet. Takei certainly has his flaws. He never misses a chance to bash Shatner in the media. As 6 and 8 have said, it’s all about the media attention he gets from it, because every time he shows up on a show the Shatner bashing begins. Shatner has managed to stay relevant in entertainment, when many of his 60s contemporaries have faded into obscurity. Back then, he was a working actor, the lead in a series before ensemble casts were the trend, always looking to the next role or opportunity, as he continues to do today. It seems to me he’s tried to give back to the fans and less fortunate along the way. It seems Shatner has tried to bury the hatchet, but Takei can’t let go of it, because it’s all he’s got left. Face it George, you were riding Shatner’s coattails in the 60s, and you’ve been riding them ever since. Funny, how we never heard about all of this hatred and vitrol when the cast was making movies and cashing big paychecks. It’s time to give the man a rest.

FWIW, I’m watching Takei on NHK doing a bit on him and it’s interesting hearing native Japanese speakers say his last name. They put an almost Shatnerian pause between its two syllables.

bored now ,the only thing he seem to talk about is how much he hates shatner and being gay now i respect the later but do you need to say it even time its turning into will and grace,your gay and happy married good i am so pleased for you that you have that person in your life,quinto just came out said it and then went on with his life,as for shatner so bored,i have to say its getting to the stage where i cant be bother with taki any more and i don’t want to do that please give it up live and let live now i do not expect you to become bbf or even like one another just stop dragging everyone else into this thing please

I think both of them have milked their “feud” to a degree.
I’m sure Bill will take any attention he can get and George is a far bigger star now than he ever was.
To me, this feud is kind of like the kind you would see on old school wrestling. They talk a lot, but down deep they appreciate each other and there is some friendship. George wouldn’t have been on Bill’s Roast and work together on other projects if they truly hated each other.

Agreed. I love George! The weeks he is on Howard are some of the greatest. Both he (mostly due to Howard) and Shatner have had an incredible late career renaissance. I wish he would just appreciate that Trek has ultimately been a great gift for both of them and do away with the silly animosity at this point in their limited lives. Sometimes I think this Shatner animosity is just his “shtick”. He had a resurgence of recognition and popularity when he started bashing the Shat.

@28. Steve Gennarelli,
“I think both of them have milked their “feud” to a degree.”

God bless you. bingo.

They are both playing it, and both reaping the rewards. Anybody who actually gets upset about it, well I’ve got some swamp land for sale in Florida …

Totally adore George. However, he only appeared in 2/3rds of the TOS episodes and the last time he worked with Shatner was a quarter of a century ago. Although the media kinda keeps this dispute stoked by asking both of these actors to comment on it over and over, I gotta sense that this “feud” is a one-sided affair. Just as it was back in the 60’s, when they’d both appeared on that iconic NBC-series, Shatner remains a busy man. He’s likely always been intensely focused on his own career and now he’s also engaged in benefiting worthwhile charities.

Every minute George talks about Bill, he’s only wasting time when, instead, he could be charming us with his great humor or inspiring us with his advocacy of human-rights

I know the old saying that No press is bad press, but I can’t see any benefit in the Takei/Shatner feud for either of them. It just reminds people of Shatner’s flaws and makes Takei look petty, overly prideful and resentful of that fact that he played a lesser character and was third or fourth fiddle to Shatner on Star Trek.

George Takei, as Bill Maher points out, has come to enjoy a great “second act” in his career. Takei is famous today on his own merits, for his Gay Rights advocacy and so forth. I just don’t see what benefit there could possibly be in his sniping at Shatner all the time. For a guy preaching the gospel of tolerance and understanding, his persistent resentment of Shatner can’t be helping his image or his cause.

And as for Shatner needing the press, to quote Takei from STVI, Are you kidding?

Bill Shatner has had so many things going on for decades now that that a petty feud with a former cast-member pales in terms of media attention.
Shatner has had how many TV shows (both producing and starring in)? How many books? How many charity events? How many Trek conventions? How many late night talk show appearances? How many awards show appearances? Those damned Priceline commercials on all the time….And I’m sure I’m leaving out plenty of his recent activities.

Bill Shatner, for all of his human flaws, is an entertainment dynamo. There’s just no disputing that. He does not need some chronic petty bitchery with George Takei in order to get attention.

As for Takei being hooked on the attention from his feud with Shatner, that seems more likely. If you’re George Takei and you’ve always resented Shatner being more famous and getting the better roles in Trek, getting attention from sniping at him in public would make sense, if attention is what you’re most after. And Takei does seem to enjoy the attention.

@31. P’trick,
“Every minute George talks about Bill, he’s only wasting time when, instead, he could be charming us with his great humor or inspiring us with his advocacy of human-rights”

And every minute Shatner plays the buffoon, tarnishing the image of Captain Kirk and Star Trek, in his egotistic grab for fame and the spotlight, he could be hosting another charity drive, or donating another gal stone.


It’s a shame George feels he cant make an appearance without Shatner bashing. I guess it just shows who has the real talent.

All of you trashing Takei have no idea what you’re talking about. Period.

Apparently, there is unresolved history between Shatner and most of the cast. Sometimes people do things that don’t allow you to resolve it. Perhaps, we as fans should move on not expect these two to kiss and make up.

#33 – That is nonsense. William Shatner is not Captain Kirk. Captain Kirk is a fictional character, but William Shatner is a real person living now who has made much of his living by acting as various characters, one of whom was a futuristic fictional character who goes by the name of James Kirk.

He has every right to be a buffoon, sing badly (I have heard worse), do priceline commercials, host charity shows, talk on radio, ride horses and do whatever he wants.

As far as I know, William Shatner has not made a habit of verbally bashing anyone in public, however the same cannot be said of George Takei. That alone makes William Shatner the better man, irrespective of what fame or spotlight he might grab, while NOT consistently making fun of and deriding another.

Do you even know what a gall stone is? Besides, it was a kidney stone that he donated to charity. Gall stones and kidney stones mean pain, a lot of pain…:(


Keachick, I have passed two kidneystones in my time. One in 1980 and the other in 2000.

I felt like I’d been shot. Brutal pain.

A woman who had given birth (one that was normal, straightforward) and had also the experience of passing a kidney stone reported that the pain was pretty much the same…she thought that passing the stone could have been slightly worse, but not by much.

Just to give you guys some idea…just saying.

It’s no secret Shatner was a jerk to his costars once upon a time, but Takei really needs to let it go. He sounds like an obsessed Trekkie. ;-)

35. Garth – July 19, 2014

All of you trashing Takei have no idea what you’re talking about. Period.

Care to enlighten us?

(Not that I would characterize my comments as “trashing Takei.”)

Having earlier just watched NHK’s interview with Takei, I think whatever animosity he feels for Shatner pales compared to what he feels for the interment and its effects on him and his father in WWII.

Besides at this late stage of the game in regards to his Shatner feud, I’d much rather heAR about what George made of The Duke in his collaboration with him in THE GREEN BERETS.

5. They’re actors on a show. Shatner was the star and nobody has ever said that he wasn’t professional, courteous or friendly to everyone on set. The griping was over later stories that he’d been asking, behind the scenes, for more lines for Kirk. It was just work to these folks back then. And actors are always worried about being able to get the next job. And they’re all self-centered, pretty much by definition. Takei included.

I like Takei, but he needs to realize that he’s got more going for him than just his snide comments about Shatner (and Shatner’s no better in this) and being gay (I say this as a gay man).

I’ll have a BLT sandwich.

George…let it go.

George was lucky to have milked his bit part into a nice living off Trek.

Shat, Nimoy and De (and Doohan to lesser extent) are the drivers of the show. The rest were interchangeable (and often were).

I’m tired of George’s whining.

You would think at his age; George would let go of the bad blood between him and Shatner. It’s old and he should move on with the bickering.

@31. P’trick, MORE:
“Every minute George talks about Bill, he’s only wasting time when, instead, he could be charming us with his great humor or inspiring us with his advocacy of human-rights”

And I assume you must feel his feud with Carrie Fisher is time well spent?

Gotta hand it to Shatner, making fun of Fisher’s sagging breasts is one class act, that’s sure to help the world’s sick and starving. Such a humanitarian.

@ 46: Fisher and him are friends. It’s called humor. They tease each other all the time on twitter.

@47 B Kramer,

Oh, somebody actually gets it.

@ 21. Curious Cadet – July 19, 2014:

Takei is not fighting for “civil rights” when he has spent decades focusing one thing above all else: his hate of William Shatner. That is what Takei is best known for–not anything else, and it is more than a cheap, stunt for attention. He thinks he is “protected” in modern media, so he can get away with something –if worn out by anyone else–would inspire a collective “get over it”, but he continues, year after year, beating that same, dead horse.

Perhaps if he spent the same amount of years working on his acting career instead of being a bitter, ex-day player, or begging for snowball’s – chance – in -hell Captain Sulu movies, he would have a higher standing as a performer. But that was/is too much to ask.

He will go to his grave defning himself by what he failed to do, and how another used his own ability to succeed on and beyond that one job.