Akihiko Hirata

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Akihiko Hirata
Photograph of Akihiko Hirata, from Godzilla (1954).jpg
Hirata in Godzilla (1954)
Born Akihiko Onoda
(1927-12-26)26 December 1927
Seoul, Korea
Died 25 July 1984(1984-07-25) (aged 56)
Tokyo, Japan
Occupation Actor
Years active 1953 – 1984
Spouse(s) Yoshiko Kuga (1961 – 1984)

Akihiko Hirata (平田昭彦 Hirata Akihiko?) (December 16, 1927 – July 25, 1984) was a Japanese film actor. While Hirata starred in many movies (including Hiroshi Inagaki's Samurai trilogy), he is most well known for his work in the kaiju genre, including such films as King Kong vs. Godzilla, The Mysterians, and his most famous role of Dr. Daisuke Serizawa, the brilliant but disturbed young scientist in the original Godzilla, released in 1954.[1] Hirata died after a long battle with lung cancer in 1984, at age 56.[2]

Early life[edit]

Hirata was born in Keijo, Japan, in 1927, into a wealthy family. He was educated at the prestigious Tokyo University's School of Interior Design. Before joining Shintoho as an assistant director (under his older brother, Yoshiki Onoda), Hirata moved into still photography, and eventually joined Toho in 1953, under the studio's "New Face" program, which would lead to his casting in Godzilla (although Hirata was originally intended for the part of Ogata, eventually played by another genre regular, Akira Takarada).

Career[edit]

Hirata's film debut came in 1953, with The Last Embrace. Hirata would go on to play everything from snarling villains to government officials, his long face and intense features have earned the actor a cult following. Although Hirata earned lasting fame with his part in Godzilla, the role also typecast him, and the actor would go on to star in over 20 other sci-fi fantasy films for Toho (among them The H-Man, Gorath, and Prophecies of Nostradamus, as well as an important recurring role in the original Ultraman series. It is fitting that in both his first and final appearances in a Godzilla film, Hirata would play mysterious and disturbed scientists, as Hirata took on the role of the tragic Dr. Mafune in 1975's Terror of Mechagodzilla.

Death[edit]

Hirata died in 1984. The actor's association with the kaiju genre continued right until his death, as he helped announce the production of The Return of Godzilla at a Tokyo press conference, but unfortunately Hirata was too ill to appear in the film, and the part would eventually go to Yosuke Natsuki, who had appeared alongside Hirata in Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster in 1964. Hirata died on the 25th of July, 1984, after a long battle with lung cancer.

Selected filmography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ A Kaiju film website, provides details of Hirata's filmography.
  2. ^ IMDB biography, fills in some details of Hirata's life.