Harau Nakajima, who flattened Tokyo as 'Godzilla,' dies at 88

  • Harau Nakajima, who flattened Tokyo as 'Godzilla,' dies at 88

Harau Nakajima, who flattened Tokyo as 'Godzilla,' dies at 88

Nevertheless, he persisted, and Haruo Nakajima would don the suit as Godzilla in 12 consecutive films, beginning with 1954's Godzilla until his final appearance in the 1972 movie Godzilla vs. Gigan.

Nakajima, who started his movie career as a stuntman, first wore the 100-kilogram Godzilla suit at the age of 25.

Nakajima's daughter Sonoe Nakajima told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he had been hospitalized last month and died of pneumonia Monday.

The Japanese actor also starred in Akira Kurosawa's classic Seven Samurai in the same year as the original Godzilla film.

Prior to the '80s reboot of the Godzilla franchise (with the excellent Godzilla 1985), the outings by director Ishiro Honda were the best, the ones starring Haruo Nakajima.

The actor told CNN's Great Big Story a year ago that he studied elephants and gorillas to prepare for his role as Godzilla. "I watched the feet of an elephant and also a bear to see how a monster would move", he said.

He went on to play the character in consecutive sequels as well as playing other beasts Rodan, Mothra and King Kong.

The movie was released just nine years after the US dropped atomic bombs on Japan.

Godzilla, a metaphor for the devastation caused by atomic warfare, became a sensation - so much so that Kim Jong-il made his own version for North Korea called Pulgasari. Nakajima played a key role in making Godzilla what it is, and there is no doubt that his contribution has left a huge mark in the movie making business. 'It remains in people's memory and for that I feel really grateful'. The last Hollywood outing was in 2014, with a sequel now in works.