Celebs share favorite Thanksgiving memories
George Takei will be having Thanksgiving dinner tonight with husband Brad Takei and another couple at Tavern on the Green in New York City.
The Star Trek icon was among the celebrities who spoke with me recently about their Thanksgiving plans and their favorite memories of the holiday.
For Takei, his most memorable Thanksgiving came after the end of World War II and his family was released from the internment camp they had been kept in because they were Americans of Japanese descent.
‘When I was a kid, we had a dinner with my brother, my sister, my parents and my uncle – my father’s older brother in a small apartment right behind a dry cleaner shop in East Los Angeles. This was shortly after the war and we were out from the internment camp,’ remembers Takei, now 77.
‘That was the first time we had that kind of celebratory dinner with my uncle. I remember that fondly.’
For actor and LGBTI activist Wilson Cruz, currently starring in the Fox series Red Band Society, one of his favorite Thanksgiving memories happened on the set of another TV series.
‘I was on Party of Five and was in the Thanksgiving episode of that season and they wrote a song for me that I sang as the prayer at dinner and it was really moving to me,’ Cruz said.
‘My family is like spread out so I like Thanksgivings where you take people in and you make a family – your chosen family and be grateful for that. It’s my favorite holiday – the very conscious act of being grateful I think is really important.’
For writer and performer Bruce Vilanch, Thanksgiving always comes near his 23 November birthday and his favorite memories as a kid have nothing to do with turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie.
‘I grew up in New Jersey and I was such a theater queen – early – and Thanksgiving always meant going to New York to a matinee. First we’d go and watch the Macy’s Parade on TV or live if we could score seats then we would go to a matinee of a big musical and go have dinner at some steakhouse – it would usually be a steakhouse because nobody in my family liked turkey.
‘So that’s what I remember Thanksgiving being and of course I looked forward to it. It was like a triple threat: A parade! A Musical! A steak! What’s not to love?’
As a gay adult man now living in Los Angeles, new Thanksgiving traditions have emerged for Vilanch.
‘Usually I go to what’s known as the “Lost Boys Thanksgiving” which is people who can’t get to their families or in many cases for years their families didn’t want to see them.
‘Now it’s kind of different because the “Lost Boys Thanksgiving” is filled with couples who have children. It used to be kind of a stag party Thanksgiving and now it’s kind of a Modern Family Thanksgiving.’