Tuesday, August 8, 2017

He Brought Life to Godzilla

Published on Aug 7, 2017  47 sec.
The world of cinema lost an icon today, as actor Haruo Nakajima - best known for being the man inside the suit of Godzilla - passed away at the age of 88 years old. Nakajima played Godzilla in the original Toho Godzilla movie of 1954; he would follow up that performance with 11 more appearances as the Kaiju monster and some of his enemies (such as Gojira), before retiring from the role in 1972. For the full scope of his role in the Godzilla franchise, check out his list of screen credits, below: Godzilla Raids Again King Kong vs.http://comicbook.com/2017/08/07/godzi...
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Haruo Nakajima, actor who played original Godzilla, dies at age 88

The Japan Times  AP


Haruo Nakajima, the actor who stomped around in a rubber suit to portray the original 1954 Godzilla, helping to make the Japanese monster an iconic symbol of the nuclear era, has died. He was 88.
Nakajima’s daughter, Sonoe Nakajima, said Tuesday that he was hospitalized last month and died of pneumonia Monday.

Haruo Nakajima was a stunt actor in samurai films when he was approached to take the role of Godzilla, which may be Japan’s most successful cultural export. Some fans prefer Nakajima’s version over other Hollywood depictions, which they say make the fire-breathing lizard an evil-looking animal.

Vivacious and energetic in a 2014 interview with The Associated Press, Nakajima said he invented the character from scratch, and developed it by going to a zoo to study how elephants and bears moved. He said it was important to show the pathos of the creature, which could only smash everything in its way.
“If Godzilla can’t walk properly, it’s nothing but a freak show,” he said at his apartment in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture, proudly sitting among sepia-toned photos of him as a young man and Godzilla figures.

He recalled that the rubber suit he wore was so hot, especially under the glaring lights of the movie set, that the sweat he wrung from his shirt would fill half a bucket.

In the original movie, directed by Ishiro Honda with an unforgettable score by Akira Ifukube, Godzilla surfaces from the Pacific Ocean suddenly, a mutation as a result of nuclear testing in the area.


Actor Haruo Nakajima speaks at his home in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture, on April 28, 2014. He died on Monday at age 88, his family said. | AP

The Toho classic, which went on to become a mega-series and inspired Hollywood spinoffs, struck a chord with postwar Japan, the only nation in the world to suffer atomic bombings.

Nakajima said the theme of his Godzilla was grand and complex, addressing universal human problems, as it spoke to a Japan that still remembered wartime suffering.

“It’s not some cowboy movie,” he said.

Although recent Godzilla films use computer graphics, the latest Japanese Godzilla remake, released last year, went back to using a human actor, Mansai Nomura, a specialist in the traditional theater of Kyogen. His movements were duplicated on the screen through motion capture technology.

Until recently, Nakajima had continued to be a star guest at festivals and events. He had been scheduled to be featured at the Tokyo International Film Festival in October.

“I am the original, the real thing,” he said in 2014. “My Godzilla was the best.”
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Haruo Nakajima, the man inside the original Godzilla suit, dies

The Asahi Shimbun  THE ASSOCIATED PRESS  August 8, 2017



Haruo Nakajima (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

 
Haruo Nakajima, the actor who stomped in a rubber suit to portray the original 1954 Godzilla, has died. He was 88.

Nakajima's daughter Sonoe Nakajima said Tuesday that he had been hospitalized last month and died of pneumonia on Monday.

Nakajima was a stunt actor in samurai films when he was approached to take the role of the Japanese monster that became an iconic symbol of the nuclear era. He invented the character from scratch, and went to a zoo to study how elephants and bears moved.

He believed it was important to show the pathos of the creature, which could only smash everything in its way.

Until recently, Nakajima had continued to be a star guest at festivals and events. He lived in a Tokyo suburb.

A funeral is to be held for family and close friends.

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