Akira Takarada, Star Of The Original 1954 Godzilla Movie, Has Died At 87

Japanese actor Akira Takarada, best known for his role in Toho's "Godzilla" movie series, has died at the age of 87. Takarada received top billing in the original 1954 "Godzilla" film, in which he starred as Hideto Ogata, a sailor for the South Seas Salvage company and one-third of the movie's central love triangle. His character had to liaison with the Japanese Coast Guard after an SOS call came in from the first ship that Godzilla sank, and he would be there at the end to help deliver the Oxygen Destroyer.

Toho itself shared the news of Takarada's passing via its official "Godzilla" account on Twitter, where it wrote, "We are saddened to hear of the passing of Akira Takarada. May his memory continue to inspire the lives of many Godzilla fans."

Takarada appeared in the 1956 American re-edit, "Godzilla, King of the Monsters," with Raymond Burr, and he took on a variety of roles in subsequent Godzilla movies, including "Mothra vs. Godzilla" in 1964, "Invasion of the Astro-Monster" in 1965, and "Ebirah, Horror of the Deep" in 1966. He also appeared in other kaiju films like Toho's "King Kong Escapes," helmed by "Godzilla" director Ishirō Honda.

Takarada returned to the "Godzilla" franchise in 1992 with "Godzilla vs. Mothra," before making his final appearance in the series in "Godzilla: Final Wars" in 2004. As Business Insider details, he filmed a cameo for the 2014 "Godzilla" movie from Legendary Entertainment, but it was ultimately left on the cutting-room floor. However, Legendary shared a photo of him on the set with "Godzilla" director Gareth Edwards in 2013, which you can see above.

Takarada also did voice work

Beyond live-action movies, Takarada appeared in stage productions, including "South Pacific" and "My Fair Lady." He did the Japanese dubbing for the 1967 version of "Doctor Doolittle," in which he voiced Rex Harrison's title character, and for the Disney animated features, "The Great Mouse Detective" and "Aladdin," in which he voiced the villains Ratigan and Jafar, respectively.

Takarada also voiced Jafar in the "Kingdom Hearts" video game series. At Tokyo Disneyland, he provided the voice of Henry, the Master of Ceremonies in the Country Bear Theater. More recently, he contributed to the dubbing of Tom Hooper's 2019 film, "Cats," in which he voiced Gus "Asparagus" the Theatre Cat, the character played by Ian McKellan.

Takarada carved out his own piece of legacy in a series of films that are known the world over, and his work onscreen and onstage provided entertainment and enjoyment to audiences on the home front in Japan. Our thoughts go out to his loved ones. As they say in Japanese: ご冥福をお祈り申し上げます。(I pray for your soul).