Sunday, July 23, 2006


Mako (1933-2006)

It seems as if in the past couple weeks, this site has become overwhelmed by the alarming number of celebrity obits and there is yet another one to report today, that of Mako, the groundbreaking Japanese actor who received an Oscar nomination for his supporting role in 1966's The Sand Pebbles. Here now is a brief look at some of Mako's career highlights. Unfortunately, he never quite equaled his early Oscar-nominated work, spending most of his time in episodic television, including four separate appearances as different characters on TV's M*A*S*H.

The Sand Pebbles (1966): The film itself is bloated, but Mako injected real humanity into his role of Ho-pan who aids a U.S. gunboat patrolling China during the 1926 revolution.
Pacific Overtures (1976): Mako earned a Tony nomination for his lead role in Stephen Sondheim's musical about Western nations discovering Japan.
Conan the Barbarian (1982): Mako served as both narrator and the character of the Wizard in Arnold's take on the famed character and returned in the 1984 sequel, Conan the Destroyer.
Testament (1983): Mako appeared in this post-nuclear war drama that netted Jane Alexander an Oscar nomination.
Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988): Mako also had a small role in this underrated Francis Coppola film.
Memoirs of a Geisha (2005): I have to admit, I didn't recognize him playing Ziyi Zhang's father until the end credits rolled.

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I've lost count of all the character actors who have passed away in the past fortnight (RIP all). But I'm very much appreciating your tireless efforts with the obituaries. They've been quite absorbing to read, particularly June Allyson's.
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