It was announced this morning that Haruo Nakajima, Godzilla suit actor for twelve consecutive films including the original 1954 Gojira, has passed away at age 88.
When Nakajima first donned the King of Monsters costume in the original film, he had only acted in several samurai films. Due to his strength and endurance as a stuntman, he was the perfect choice to wear the nearly 200-pound suit. Upon being given the role, he went to a Tokyo zoo to observe animals in their movements and interactions to help him in his depiction of the atomic monster.
Nakajima reprised his now-iconic role in no less than eleven Godzilla movies, including KING KONG VS. GODZILLA and GODZILLA VS MOTHRA. He also donned the suits of many other kaiju through the years, including Mothra, Baragon, and Gaira, as well as several monsters from the ULTRAMAN series of the late 1960s. His last portrayal of Godzilla was in 1972’s GODZILLA VS. GIGAN.
In 2010, Nakajima published an autobiography titled MONSTER LIFE: HARUO NAKAJIMA, THE ORIGINAL GODZILLA ACTOR. He was always very gracious and enthusiastic about meeting his fans and attended many conventions in the US. Famous Monsters hosted Nakajima last year at Alien Con, and we will miss him very much.