Haruo Nakajima, the original actor who played Godzilla in the classic monster movies, died Monday at the age of 88, according to Huffington Post.
Nakajima was the first screen actor to play the famous Godzilla. He performed the role in 12 films, beginning in 1954 up to “Godzilla vs. Gigan” in 1972.
After starting his film career as a stuntman, appearing in films like “Seven Samurai,” a producer noticed him on the set of a World War II movie and liked his energy. He cast him for the role of Godzilla, cementing his status as a movie icon.
Most people aren’t aware that the first suits that Nakjima wore were made not of rubber but of cement, since rubber was a hard commodity to come by during wartime. According to AVClub.com the first costume weighed nearly 220 pounds.
As an actor, Nakajima was given little direction in his first film; instead, he took cues from the Tokyo zoo, studying how larger animals behaved. Although Godzilla was his most legendary role, he also starred in other notable films, playing the part of “Mothra” in the 1961 Toho film, and as King Kong in 1967’s “King Kong Escapes.”
Nakajima was born in 1929. After his tenure as Godzilla came to a close, he retired from suit acting in 1972. He continued to make appearances at fan conventions until his death.
“In the end, the Godzilla I played remains on film forever,” he told Great Big Story. “It remains in people’s memory, and for that I feel really grateful.”
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