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.