Haruo Nakajima dies

Farewell to the man who was Godzilla

by Jennie Kermode

Haruo Nakajima as Godzilla in the original 1954 film
Haruo Nakajima as Godzilla in the original 1954 film

Fans have been exchanging condolences today over the death of Haruo Nakajima, who has passed away at the age of 88. The Yamagata-born actor was one of Japan's biggest stars - literally, portraying Godzilla in 12 films and also playing several of the much-loved monster's kaiju friends and enemies.

Highly respected at Toho Studios, where he was regarded as one of the best in the business, he may rarely have shown his face onscreen but his acting inside a rubber suit made Godzilla much more than just a source of scares, giving him a personality that endeared him to millions around the globe. In later life, the actor discovered the convention circuit, where he won many fans of his own, always providing great entertainment. He also published an autobiography, Monster Life: Haruo Nakajima, The Original Godzilla Actor.

Nakajima also acted in more conventional roles, appearing in several of Japan's most celebrated films, including Seven Samurai, Hidden Fortress and Yojimbo.

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