Aug. 14, 2014 at 12:19 PM ET
George Takei is well known for playing Sulu on the big and small screens in "Star Trek," for being a beloved semi-regular on "The Howard Stern Show" and for his endlessly entertaining tweets, but there's more to the actor and LGBT rights activist than that.
As Takei explained during a Thursday morning visit to TODAY — and as he highlights in a new documentary on his life — he was far less fortunate in his early years.
In 1942, Takei and his family met the same fate as other Japanese Americans living on the West Coast of the United States. Thanks to an executive ordered signed by then-President Franklin Roosevelt after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Takei family was interned for the duration of the war.
"I remember that scary morning," he said. "I'd just turned 5 years old. ... My parents got my younger brother and my baby sister and me up very early one morning and hurriedly dressed us. ... We saw two soldiers marching up our driveway; they had bayonets on their rifles. ... Literally at gunpoint, we were ordered out of our home."
Takei recalled the sight of his mother clutching his sister, both crying, and said it was "a memory I will never forget."
The actor's fans can learn more about that experience and other major moments in his life in "To Be Takei," which opens in select theaters Aug. 22.
Want to catch more from the star before then? Well, just watch his second visit to TODAY on Thursday, when he stopped by to surprise "Star Trek" superfan Mira Sorvino.
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