James Shigeta: Die Hard and Flower Drum Song Actor dies aged 81

'It is with great sadness that I report the loss of my long-time friend and client James Shigeta,' his agent said in a statement

James Shigeta, the famed character actor who played memorable roles in Die Hard (1988) and musical Flower Drum Song (1961) has died.

"It is with great sadness that I report the loss of my long-time friend and client James Shigeta," his agent said in a statement to E! News yesterday.

"James was the biggest East Asian U.S. star the country had known. He filled both A-movie starring roles and TV guest appearances with the same cool and classy style. James starred  in Ross Hunter's glitzy production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical Flower Drum Song, A Bridge to the Sun  and Die Hard

"James passed peacefully in his sleep, July 28, 2014, at 2 p.m. The world has lost a great actor. Sadly, I lost a dear friend."

Shigeta, who was born in Honolulu, originally studied to be an actor at New York University.

But he initially joined the Marines, and severed during the Korean War.

 

He went on to become a recording artist in Japan, despite not being able to speak a single word of the language when he first arrived in the country.

His career in music eventually led to his first big on-screen role in The Crimson Kimono, for which he won the Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer alongside Barry Coe, Troy Donahue and George Hamilton.

In 1961, he scored the lead role of Wang Ta in the film adaptation of Broadway musical Flower Drum Song. He also starred opposite Elvis Presley in Paradise in 1966 and Lost Horizon in 1973.

 

Among his TV appearances, he counted Perry Mason, Mission: Impossible and Hawaii 5-O.

His appearance in 1988 action movie Die Hard is perhaps one of his most famous.

Shigeta played executive Joseph Takagi. He reaches a premature end in the movie after being shot by Hans Gruber, played by Alan Rickman, after he refuses to give up the security code to the bank vault in the skyscraper he works in.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

East15 Acting School: Finance and Contracts Officer

£20,781 to £24,057 per annum: East15 Acting School: The post involves general ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: A mainstream Secondary school in C...

Austen Lloyd: Practice / HR Manager - Somerset

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A rare and exciting opportunity for a Practice...

Recruitment Genius: Human Resources Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company provides global satellite communi...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen