The Wizard Vanishes: Mako dead at 72...

No official word yet, but an LJ Friend whose partner is active in the LA stage scene has just posted that Mako, whose career on screens both large and small spanned almost 45 years, died yesterday of throat cancer.

His roles include The Wizard in Conan the Barbarian and Conan the Destroyer, an Oscar-nominated turn in The Sand Pebbles, Aku the evil sorcerer in Samurai Jack, and dozens of other roles.

He was also a huge figure in the LA live theater community.

Just thought you’d like to know…

I think I first saw him in the movie “The Hawaiian’s”, based on a novel by Michener. He played a Chinese man who contracted leprosy and was exiled to the island of Molokai, a horrifying place.

A steadfast performer who played Asians of every stripe and always added depth to the films he was in. A sad day.

Damn, I liked him a lot.

He had a small role in Tucker: The Man and His Dream as Tucker’s engineer. “Twin torque convertors? There’s no time to make them.”

He also played Mr. Lee in Sidekicks. I was an uncredited extra in that movie, and got to meet him. Quite a nice man.

His performance inThe Hawaiians (no apostrophe) did the neat trick of making the story of his supporting character more interesting than that of any of the leads.

I recommend going out on the balcony or other appropriately high overlook and giving a loud Aku laugh in his memory.


I still can’t find anything official on this. I don’t have any reasons to be suspicious of my LJ Friend, but not being able to even find a mention on Google or even in the LA Times obits nags at me…


He was just signed to be the voice of Master Splinter in the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. Doggone.

Uncle Iroh: So this is how the great commander Zhao acts in defeat… disgraceful! Even in exile my nephew is more honorable then you. Thank you again for the tea. It was delicious.
[They leave]
Prince Zuko: Did you really mean what you said, Uncle?
Uncle Iroh: Of course. I love Ginseng tea.

Avatar: The Last Airbender

…goodbye Uncle Iroh… :frowning:

I remember him from a couple episodes of MAS*H, especially the one with the prisoner exchange on Rainbow Bridge (I think that was the name of it) and one where he takes Hawkeye hostage to help his friend who eventually dies. I always liked him.

So now is not a good time to mention I’ve never heard of this gentleman before?

If you watch a lot of American movies & TV, you’ve seen him. He’s “That Japanese Guy” who fills in any ethnic role when Pat Morita isn’t available.

Sightings include Mr. Sakamoto (“Big Titty?”) in Taking Care of Business, Admiral Yamamoto in Pearl Harbor, the tormented renter in Pacific Heights, the gas station owner (and father of the retarded kid) in Testament, and dozens of guest star TV appearances from I Dream of Jeannie to Monk.

Such a shame we won’t be seeing That Japanese Guy anymore. :frowning:

Actually, I would have said “Soon Teck-Oh” instead of “Pat Morita.”

Actually, I also would have said “Soon Teck Oh” instead of “Soon Teck-Oh.”

He trained Jackie Chan’s charector in “The Big Brawl”…

Once you know who he is, he’s fun to watch for in the movies…

I think of him as the Magnum PI guy for some reason.

He was my sister-in-law’s uncle.

She sent me an LA Times obit in today’s email. Very sad. He was a deeply respected actor and acting teacher and mentor.