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James Shigeta: ‘Die Hard’ Actor Passes Away At 81

Tue, July 29, 2014 10:46am EDT by HL Intern 3 Comments
James Shigeta Dead
Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

So sad. James Shigeta, who co-starred in 1988’s ‘Die Hard’, passed away on July 29. He was 81.

James Shigeta, one of the first well-known Asian American actors, has died at the age of 81 in Los Angeles. The actor starred in Flower Drum Song and co-starred alongside Bruce Willis, 59, in Die Hard. 

James Shigeta Dead At 81: ‘Die Hard’ Actor Passes Away In Los Angeles

So sad. James Shigeta, one of the first prominent Asian American actors in Hollywood, has died. The actor passed away on July 29 in Los Angeles, his publicist Jeffrey Leavitt announced.

Born in Honolulu on June 17, 1933, James moved to New York and studied acting at NYU. After college, he joined the Marines and fought during the Korean War. He moved to Japan where he established a singing and acting career before he relocated to the United States and sang in the on The Dinah Shore Show in 1959.

James’ acting career won him many awards. He won the 1960 Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Male Newcomer and shared the award with actors Barry Coe, George Hamilton and Troy Donahue.

In April 2005, James received a Visionary Award from East West Players, one of the nation’s premier Asian American theatre organizations.

Widely known for his television career, James appeared on dozens of shows including Fantasy IslandLittle House On The Prairie and The Love Boat.

However, James is best known for his role in the 1988 Die Hard film where he played executive Joseph Yohinobu Takagi, who refused to give up the security code to a bank vault.

More recently, James appeared on TV shows and movies such Hawaii Five-O, Mission: Impossible, IronsideKung Fu, The Love Boat and Beverly Hills, 90210.

Our thoughts go out to James’ family and friends during this difficult time.

— Stephanie Bray 

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