Haruo Nakajima, actor who played original Godzilla, dies

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TOKYO (AP) — Haruo Nakajima, the actor who stomped in a rubber suit to portray the original 1954 Godzilla, has died. He was 88.

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

Nakajima was a stunt actor in samurai films when he was approached to take the role of the Japanese monster that became an iconic symbol of the nuclear era. He invented the character from scratch, and went to a zoo to study how elephants and bears moved.

He believed it was important to show the pathos of the creature, which could only smash everything in its way.

Until recently, Nakajima had continued to be a star guest at festivals and events. He lived in a Tokyo suburb.

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