The man who gave city-stomping life to Godzilla's movies for two decades, Haruo Nakajima, has passed away at the age of 88.
Born January 1, 1929, in Yamagata, Japan, he performed the majority of his cinema work inside a hot rubber costume for most of his 18-year career. The amiable Japanese actor gave the "King of The Monsters" an added dimension of character and humor through movement that will be remembered into eternity.
Initially reluctant to play the role, Nakajima slipped into the iconic Godzilla suit for a dozen consecutive films, starting with the first Godzilla in 1954, then reprising his hidden role in Godzilla Raids Again, King Kong vs. Godzilla, Mothra vs. Godzilla, Ghidorah: the Three-Headed Monster, Invasion of the Astro-Monster, Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster, Son of Godzilla, Destroy All Monsters, All Monsters Attack, Godzilla vs. Hedorah, and Godzilla vs. Gigan.
He also played creatures in Mothra, Space Amoeba, Frankenstein vs. Baragon, The War of the Gargantuas, and King Kong Escapes. Besides his resume of monster flicks, Nakajima had small parts in Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai and The Hidden Fortress.
Check out The Man Who Became Godzilla, an excellent 11-minute documentary short from 2012 on the life of Nakajima, below and tell us which of the late master's kaiju movies you love best.
(Via Bloody Disgusting)