Orig­i­nal 1954 ‘Godzilla’ ac­tor dies

New Straits Times - - World -

TOKYO: The man who dressed in a rub­ber suit to play the orig­i­nal Godzilla, crash­ing through Ja­panese cities and de­stroy­ing them with swipes of his mas­sive tail, has died at 88, film com­pany Toho said yes­ter­day.

Haruo Naka­jima, who donned the cum­ber­some suit to play the mon­ster who rose from the depths af­ter a hy­dro­gen bomb test in the orig­i­nal

1954 died on Mon­day of pneu­mo­nia, a Toho spokesman said.

The first suit weighed 100kg and was so hard to breathe in that an oxy­gen tube was at­tached, Naka­jima said in later years. He played the mon­ster in a dozen films, run­ning through to 1972.

The first Godzilla — his name a com­bi­na­tion of “go­rilla” and the Ja­panese word for whale — crashed ashore as a sym­bol of atomic weapons less than a decade af­ter the Hiroshima and Na­gasaki bomb­ings, as well as of frus­tra­tions with the United States, which had just held a hy­dro­gen bomb test at Bikini atoll that ir­ra­di­ated a boat full of Ja­panese fish­er­men.

The most re­cent film in the fran­chise, which has in­cluded both Ja­panese and US-made films, came out from Toho last year.

Haruo Naka­jima with the Godzilla suit.

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