Japanese actor Akira Takarada, the star of the original 1954 Godzilla film, has died at the age of 87. No cause or date of death was given by Toho Studios, which produced that film and announced his death.
Takarada starred as Hideto Ogata in Godzilla, a sailor. His character was the liaison with the Japanese Coast Guard after the first ship that Godzilla sank sent out an SOS. He was also there at the film’s end to watch Godzilla die from the Oxygen Destroyer.
Toho wrote of his death on the official Twitter account for the film. “We are saddened to hear of the passing of Akira Takarada. May his memory continue to inspire the lives of many Godzilla fans.”
Takarada appeared in the 1956 American re-edit, Godzilla, King of the Monsters, with Raymond Burr. He was a part of the ongoing Godzilla series, appearing in Mothra vs. Godzilla in 1964. Takarada returned to the Godzilla series in 1992 with the updated Godzilla vs. Mothra, then made his his final appearance in the series in Godzilla: Final Wars in 2004.
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He was also in other monster movies, including Invasion of the Astro-Monster in 1965, and Ebirah, Horror of the Deep in 1966. He also appeared in other kaiju films like Toho’s King Kong Escapes. .
Besides his film career, Takarada stared in stage productions and did voiceover work. He did the Japanese dubbing for the 1967 version of Doctor Doolittle, in which he voiced Rex Harrison’s title character, and for the Disney animated features The Great Mouse Detective and Aladdin, in which he voiced the villains Ratigan and Jafar, respectively.
Takarada also voiced Jafar in the Kingdom Hearts video game series. And at Tokyo Disneyland, he provided the voice of Henry, the Master of Ceremonies in the Country Bear Theater.
No details on survivors was immediately available. .
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