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R.I.P. Original ‘Godzilla’ Suit Actor Haruo Nakajima

Before CGI came along and allowed for Godzilla to be brought to the screen in recent films like Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla and Toho’s Shin Godzilla, actors in costumes were tasked with bringing the massive monster to life. And nobody is more synonymous with the iconic character than Haruo Nakajima, an icon in his own right.

Today we’re very sad to report that Nakajima has passed away at 88.

The Japanese actor played Godzilla for 12 consecutive films, beginning with the original Godzilla in 1954. He subsequently played the character in Godzilla Raids Again, King Kong vs. Godzilla, Mothra vs. GodzillaGhidorah: the Three-Headed Monster, Invasion of the Astro-Monster, Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster, Son of Godzilla, Destroy All Monsters, All Monsters Attack, Godzilla vs. Hedorah and Godzilla vs. Gigan.

The legendary Haruo Nakajima also played monsters in Mothra, Frankenstein vs. Baragon, The War of the Gargantuas and King Kong Escapes.

Nakajima retired from suit acting in 1972.



  • M.Mitchell Marmel

    Kan pei, Nakajima-sama.
    I still recall the story of when Nakajima stormed out of the US Godzilla film, loudly declaiming “That no GOJIRA! That IGUANA!” 😀

    You will be missed.

    • donjohn9

      Now that’s funny

    • hanshotfirst1138

      I’d never heard that, that’s a great story.

  • ConnieHinesDorothyProvine

    Damn. He created one of the coolest monsters ever to grace the silver screen.

  • chronikheckler

    Part of my childhood has died… If there’s a Monster Heaven, Nakajima-san will be welcomed with the ultimate honors! Rest in peace Haruo and thank you for all the joy you brought to this unrepentant Godzilla geek! 😉 May God (zilla) bless you! 😀

    • zonilo1 .

      Nah forget the assumption of the Christian afterlife and instead he went to a Shinto/Buddhist one….

  • Saturn

    R.I.P. LEGEND.

  • Mary Burrell

    Godzilla versus the Smog Monster.

    • Tan Shearer

      How could they do that to a cat?!!!

  • Mary Burrell

    Will be checking out the Bloody Disgusting Podcast.

  • hanshotfirst1138

    As someone who originally considered my username as gojifan, this is damned heartbreaking. He was a total legend and brought together some of the most classic monsters of all time, not to mention the King himself. Rest in Peace, Nakajima-San. Kaiju fans the world over will remember you well.

  • Flu-Like Symptoms

    RIP to a true icon. Gojira ’54 is the best monster movie ever made.

  • Green Jello

    He also played two of my favorite Toho monsters. Gezora and Gaira.

  • GuyLaFarge

    I first saw this film, in its American version with Raymond Burr edited in, when I was 10 years old. Then, as now, I was enamored of it for two reasons: 1)even then before the word “environment” was in common usage, I appreciated Godzilla as a symbol of Nature’s Wrath, trying to punish mankind for ruining the planet; 2)I identified with Dr. Hezikawa who loved his young lab assistant, but she loved the handsome Coast Guardsman, hence his sacrifice at film’s end to personally destroy Godzilla and also himself. Yeah, even as a kid, even before I liked girls, I knew that love and I were never going to be quite on the same page. All these years later, nothing’s changed. But I digress. I loved the original “Godzilla” and even bought the twin DVD set a couple of years ago with both the original Japanese (with subtitles) and stylized American versions. Yet, I simply don’t care about any of the Toho sequels. In the original, it’s almost like they used clay-mation production, as with the original “King Kong”. All of the others, the production values were actually WORSE and it was patently-obvious someone was wearing a rubber suit as “the monster”. Then again, I will always be puzzled by Godzilla’s son’s signature sound, “Farquhar!” Huh?

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