Any actor of friends died

The first "Godzilla" actor died at the age of 88

The actor suffered from pneumonia, from which he died on Monday (August 7th, 2017), the Japanese agency Kyodo reported, citing a family member.

Born in 1929 in Yamagata Prefecture, north of Tokyo, Haruo Nakajima began his film career as a stunt man in samurai films. At the age of 25, he assumed the role of the radiant, dinosaur-like monster that could destroy entire cities. Haruo Nakajima embodied the mutated giant lizard a total of 12 times.

In a 2014 interview, the actor stated that he had rehearsed the monster's peculiar movements by observing zoo animals, especially bears and elephants. At 100 kilograms, his rubber suit was so heavy that he could barely walk ten meters in it. And he was proud of his portrayal: "I'm the original, I'm real, my Godzilla was the best."

Godzilla terrified generations of moviegoers

"Not just any cowboy strip"

In the story, the giant monster is brought to life by a nuclear test on the high seas. The first Godzilla film was made just nine years after the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were destroyed by atomic bombs - and a few months after Japanese fishermen were exposed to radiation released by a US nuclear test on Bikini Island. The film series was seen as Japan's confrontation with the atomic bomb trauma.

At the height of the Cold War, when the USA and the Soviet Union fought a bitter race to find the bomb with the greatest destructive power, "Godzilla" was brand new for society as a whole, according to Nakajima. It wasn't just some cowboy flick, instead the film addressed universal human problems - especially in Japan, which was slowly recovering from the suffering of World War II in the 1950s and 1960s.

Godzilla as a cultural export item

For years, the classics from the legendary Japanese studio "Toho" were among the country's best-known cultural exports. In Japan alone 29 "Godzilla" films have been produced over the years, two remakes were later made in Hollywood studios. The latest flick, Godzilla: Resurgence, hit Japanese theaters in 2016.

Haruo Nakajima in 1966

Nakajima was very well known in Japan and was a guest of honor at festivals and film events well into old age. In October 2017 he was supposed to appear at the Tokyo International Film Festival. Now he is buried with his family and friends.

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    Author: Annika Zeitler

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