Mako (actor)


Mako (actor)

Infobox actor


name = Mako
birthdate = birth date|1933|12|10
birthplace = Kobe, Japan
deathdate = death date and age|2006|7|21|1933|12|10
deathplace = Somis, California
birthname = Makoto Iwamatsu
spouse = Shizuko Hoshi (?-2006)

nihongo|Mako Iwamatsu|マコ 岩松|extra=born nihongo|Makoto Iwamatsu|岩松 信|Iwamatsu Makoto|December 10 1933 – July 21 2006 was an Academy Award-nominated American actor. Many of his acting roles credited him simply as "Mako", omitting his surname.

Biography

Personal life

Mako was born in Kobe, Japan, the son of noted children's book author and illustrator Taro Yashima. His parents moved to the United States when he was a small child. He joined them there after World War II, in 1949, joining the military in the 1950s. He became a naturalized American citizen in 1956. [ [http://www.filmreference.com/film/95/Mako.html Mako Biography (1933-) ] ] When Mako first joined his parents in the USA, he studied architecture. During his military service, he discovered his theatrical talent, and on leaving trained at the Pasadena Community Playhouse.

Mako was married to actress Shizuko Hoshi with whom he had two daughters (who are both actresses) and three grandchildren.

Career

Mako's first cinema role was in the 1959 film "Never So Few". In 1965, frustrated by the limited roles available to himself and other Asian American actors, Mako and 6 others formed the East West Players theatre company, first performing out of a church basement. The company is one of the earliest Asian American theatre organizations, and not only provided a venue for Asian American actors to train and perform, but nurtured many Asian American playwrights. Mako remained artistic director of the company until 1989.

He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the 1966 film "The Sand Pebbles", and for a Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical for the 1976 musical "Pacific Overtures". Other roles include the Chinese contract laborer Mun Ki in the 1970 epic movie "The Hawaiians" starring Charlton Heston and Tina Chen, the sorcerer Nakano in "", the Wizard Akiro, opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger, in the two Conan movies "Conan the Barbarian" and "Conan the Destroyer", Kanemitsu in "Robocop 3" in 1993, Kungo Tsarong in "Seven Years in Tibet", and Admiral Yamamoto in the 2001 film, "Pearl Harbor". He also had a role in "Bulletproof Monk". In 2005, Mako had a cameo role in "Memoirs of a Geisha". Mako's last leading role was in the 2005 film "Cages", written and directed by Graham Streeter.

He appeared on the TV show "McHale's Navy" several times, playing Japanese soldiers. He also later appeared on the TV show "M*A*S*H", playing multiple roles such as a Chinese doctor, North Korean soldier, and South Korean major. He was the blind philosopher Li Sung in two episodes of the TV show "The Incredible Hulk". Mako also appeared in an episode of the TV show "F Troop". He also fought Bruce Lee in an episode of "The Green Hornet". He played Jackie Chan's uncle/Sifu in Chan's first American movie "The Big Brawl". Mako voiced Commander Shima in the video game "". He also was a guest star in an episode of Monk. His last "made-for-TV" movie appears to be "Rise: Blood Hunter" in 2007.

He was the voice actor of the evil demon Aku in the animated series "Samurai Jack", and as the parody of Aku, Achoo, in "Duck Dodgers", as well as Iroh in '. He had a guest appearance in the Nickelodeon movie ' as the boss of Coco. He guest-starred in the episode "A Good Day" of "The West Wing" as an economics professor and former rival of President Bartlet.

Mako has a motion picture star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7095 Hollywood Blvd. He was among the actors, producers and directors interviewed in the documentary "The Slanted Screen" (2006), directed by Jeff Adachi, about the representation of Asian and Asian American men in Hollywood.

Death

Mako died on July 21 2006, aged 72, after a brief period of suffering from esophageal cancer. One day before his death, Mako had been confirmed to star in the film "TMNT," providing the voice of Splinter. [ [http://www.superherohype.com/news.php?id=4522 TMNT at Superhero Hype] ] Kevin Munroe, director of the film, confirmed that Mako had completed his recording before his death. [ [http://www.aintitcool.com/display.cgi?id=24228 Ain't it Cool] interview with director Kevin Munroe] [ [http://www.movieweb.com/news/45/17245.php On the Set] of TMNT!] The finished film was dedicated to Mako.

During an "" episode, titled "The Tales of Ba Sing Se", which comprises several small stories about the main characters, there is a segment titled, "The Tale of Iroh". It features a dedication to Mako, as he was the voice actor for the character of Iroh for the first and second season. He was also featured in the Memoriam Montage in the 79th Academy Awards.

References

External links

*imdb name | id=0538683 | name=Mako
*voice actor|id=3434|name=Mako Iwamatsu
*ibdb name|id=74006|name=Mako
* [http://www.sondheimreview.com/v4n4.htm#article A 1998 interview] about Pacific Overtures


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