James Shigeta, one of top Asian-American actors who was active in 1960s, passed away in Los Angeles on Monday, July 28. He was 81. His publicist Jeffrey Leavitt announced the sad news.
James, who was born on June 17, 1933 in Hawaii of Japanese ancestry, moved to New York and studied drama in New York University. He joined the U.S. Marine Corps, where he served for two and a half years, during Korean War.
James made his acting debut in "The Crimson Kimono" in 1959. One year later, he starred in movie "Walk Like a Dragon". In the next year, James starred in hit movie "Flower Drum Song". In the movie, he portrayed Wang Ta, a role which was originally played by Ed Kenney in Broadway, and did all his singing part by himself in the movie.
James shared Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Male Newcomer with George Hamilton, Troy Donahue and Barry Coe in 1960.
He had starred in many movies before playing Joseph Yoshinobu Takagi in Bruce Willis' hit movie "Die Hard" in 1988. In the movie, he played the ill-fated chief executive of the Nakatomi corporation.
James also appeared on numerous TV series, including "Hawaii Five-O", "Perry Mason", "Mission: Impossible", "Ironside", "Kung Fu", "Streets of San Francisco", "The Love Boat", and "Beverly Hills, 90210".