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George Takei: From 'Star Trek' to cultural icon

 

Over the past decade, actor George Takei has emerged as a cultural icon. Besides "Trekkies" who grew up watching him as the helmsman of the USS Enterprise, Takei has amassed a new group of followers thanks to his presence on social media.

Since joining Facebook in 2011, Takei has gained more than seven million "Likes" on Facebook and over 1.23 million Twitter followers. The funny photos, memes and other content he posts multiple times a day are shared across social media platforms.

Takei has also gained prominence as a LGBT advocate. He was recently awarded the GLAAD Vito Russo Award and just last week served as the Celebrity Grand Marshal of Seattle's 2014 Pride Parade.

"I think that within the next five years, we will have the United States of America. Right now it's just a patchwork," Takei told FOX411. "LGBT people who get married in one state but their jobs may take them to another state and their marriage is not recognized. That's not going to work because we're all Americans."

Takei and his husband Brad were married in 2008 in a ceremony that incorporated his former "Star Trek" co-stars Walter Koenig and Nichelle Nichols. 

"My work colleagues from 'Star Trek' have become lifelong friends. That's a wonderful gift," Takei said. "The philosophy of 'Star Trek' is infinite diversity and infinite combinations, and that is true also in my real life."

Takei's life is the subject of a new documentary, "To Be Takei," which is available on Direct TV from July 3 to August 5 and will be released in theaters August 22. The film explores everything from Takei's childhood imprisonment in a Japanese internment camp to his relationship with his husband, Brad.

"It documents my story, my life, from the time I was a child imprisoned in US camps, barbed-wire prison camps, simply because we happened to look like the people who bombed Pearl Harbor," Takei said.

Takei preaches acceptance in diversity in every facet of life - which is why he posts "Star Wars" content as often as he shares "Star Trek" photos.

"'Star Trek' was science fiction. 'Star Wars' is science fantasy, and that's a lot of fun too," Takei said. "We're a diverse country with many different races, many different religions, many different histories and backgrounds and we have to respect each other and that's the essential message of our documentary 'To Be Takei.'"

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