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Haruo Nakajima, the original Godzilla actor, has passed away

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Haruo Nakajima died on Monday from pneumonia at the age of 88.

The Japanese actor was best known for portraying Godzilla in twelve consecutive films, from Godzilla (1954) to Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972). He also appeared in Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai & Yojimbo and a number of Japanese war films.

The first Godzilla movie was directed by Ishiro Honda and produced by the famed Japanese film studio Toho. The original 1954 costume was created from ready-mixed concrete and weighed up to 100kg (220lbs). Concrete was used due to a scarcity of rubber in post-war Japan. Nakajima studied animals in the Tokyo zoo to prepare for the role, as well as watching the original 1933 film King Kong.

Contracted to Toho Studios, the actor first performed stunt roles in a number of samurai and war films, appearing as a pilot in a burning aeroplane in Eagle of the Pacific and a bandit in Seven Samurai.

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