Tuesday, January 8, 2013
The Japanese press is reporting that famed Toho Studios character actor Makoto Sato died on December 6, 2012, of pneumonia, following a fall near his home. He was 78.
Born on March 18, 1934, in Saga Prefecture, Sato began his professional acting career in 1956 at Toho Studios. Prior to his being hired at the studio, Sato trained to become an actor at Haiyu-za alongside Ken "Starman" Utsui and Tatsuya (Ran, Kagemusha) Nakadai.
He quickly became well known for his appearances in youth films, usually playing tough guys or baddies. For genre fans, his best-known credits include: The H-Man (1958), Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress (1958), Chushingura (1962), The Lost World of Sinbad (1963), The Killing Bottle (1967), Message from Space (1978), and The Imperial Navy (1981), among countless others. Sato was a favorite of revolutionary director Kihachi Okamoto, who often cast Sato in his action pictures.
RIP to a talented actor.