George Takei Reveals His Biggest Regret in Life and Why His New Musical 'Allegiance' Is 'Apology' to His Father

"There was one heated dinner table discussion that I still regret and that haunts me to this day," George Takei tells PEOPLE

Photo: Matthew Murphy

Star Trek‘s George Takei brings his family’s moving WWII saga to life in the new Broadway musical, Allegiance.

An activist and esteemed actor with over 9 million Facebook fans, Takei is proud of his many accomplished on screen and off over his 78 years – not the least of which is his work on behalf of Japanese Americans like his own family, who were incarcerated in internment camps during WWII.

But on the eve of the opening night of his Broadway show, inspired by his family’s four years behind the camps’ barbed wire fences, he recalls the one thing in his life that continues to haunt him.

“When I was an idealistic teenager, inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, and involved in the Civil Rights Movement, there was one heated dinner table discussion that I still regret and that haunts me to this day,” Takei tells PEOPLE. “The discussion got very intense, and I said, ‘Daddy, you led us like sheep to slaughter, taking us to those internment camps.’ ”

Tears well up in his eyes as he recalls his father’s reaction.

“We had been having a good conversation back and forth, and suddenly it stopped. He was silent. And I immediately sensed I had hit a nerve. I had hurt him, and I felt terribly,” he says. “That silence seemed to go on for an eternity. Then he said, ‘Well, maybe you’re right,’ and he got up, went to his bedroom, and closed the door.”

Takei remembers thinking he would apologize the next morning, but a feeling of awkwardness prevented him from doing so.

“The more time that elapsed, the more awkward it became, and I never did apologize,” he says. “So I consider Allegiance my tribute to him as well as my apology to him.”

Read more about Takei and his emotional new musical in this week’s PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

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