Rafu Staff Report
Actor/activist George Takei and his fans were disappointed in March when he was booted from NBC’s “The Celebrity Apprentice” after the men’s team, under his leadership, lost to the women’s team.
On the May 20 season finale, which featured a showdown between “American Idol” winner Clay Aiken and former talk show host Arsenio Hall (this season’s winner), host Donald Trump reintroduced the fired celebrities, including Takei.
“The fact that you’re such a gentleman — did that help you … or hurt you?” Trump asked the “Star Trek” actor.
“What really helped, I think, was the really graceful and generous way that you handled my ‘leave-taking,’ because that resulted in dozens of people who sent in contributions to my charity, for which I could not raise a cent,” Takei replied. “They sent in generous contributions, which totaled something like $10,000, to the Japanese American National Museum.”
Takei added that he then donated $50,000 to JANM.
In a recent interview, Takei thanked his fans for supporting JANM. “I was so surprised by that — never expected it,” he told The Rafu Shimpo. “So yes, the museum did benefit.”
Each of the 18 celebrities was playing for a favorite charity, and winning one of the weekly assigned tasks — usually creating a marketing campaign for a new product — meant a major donation. Takei is a former board chair of JANM, and his monetary contributions include the $20,000 he received from the U.S. government for having been interned during World War II.
This season’s show also featured race car driver Michael Andretti, radio and TV personality Adam Carolla, actress and recording artist Tia Carrere, “Incredible Hulk” actor Lou Ferrigno, singer/songwriter Debbie Gibson, author and columnist Victoria Gotti, Teresa Giudice of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey,” magician Penn Jillette, comedian Lisa Lampanelli, 2008 Miss Universe Dayana Mendoza, singer, dancer and actress Aubrey O’Day, Twisted Sister lead singer Dee Snider, Paul Teutul Sr. of “American Chopper,” model and businesswoman Cheryl Tiegs, and supermodel Patricia Velasquez.