Mon­ster man bows out

Townsville Bulletin - - CLASSIFIEDS -

THE man be­hind the mon­ster has died.

Haruo Naka­jima, who wore the Godzilla body­suit for ev­ery Godzilla film from the orig­i­nal to 1972’ s Godzilla vs. Gi­gan, has died at 88.

Naka­jima’s ca­reer be­gan in samu­rai and war films, no­tably Seven Samu­rai by Akira Kuro­sawa and Ea­gle of the Pa­cific.

He landed the Godzilla role start­ing with 1954’ s Godzilla, King of the Mon­sters, di­rected by Ishiro Honda.

In an April in­ter­view, Naka­jima ex­plained how the orig­i­nal 1954 Godzilla cos­tume was cre­ated from ready- mixed con­crete, since com­modi­ties like rub­ber were in short sup­ply af­ter WWII. As a re­sult, the ac­tor was forced to wear a suit that weighed up to 100kg.

Naka­jima said he was given lit­tle di­rec­tion on how to por­tray the mon­ster, and con­ducted his own re­search by study­ing an­i­mals in the Tokyo Zoo.

Naka­jima took on the mon­ster role in more than just Godzilla films, how­ever.

As the prin­ci­pal suit ac­tor for Toho, he also played Mothra in 1961 and King Kong in 1967’ s King Kong Es­capes, among many other Ja­panese kaiju roles such as War of the Gar­gan­tuas and Franken­stein Con­quers the World.

In his later years, Naka­jima at­tended Ja­panese mon­ster con­ven­tions, in­clud­ing sev­eral across the US, and wrote a Ja­panese lan­guage au­to­bi­og­ra­phy Mon­ster Life: Haruo Naka­jima, the Orig­i­nal Godzilla Ac­tor, which was pub­lished in 2010.

Godzilla has gone on to be­come a mon­ster classic, with three Hol­ly­wood films, in ad­di­tion to 29 Toho films.

DRESSED TO THRILL: A scene from the film and ( be­low) the man who wore the suit, Haruo Naka­jima.


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