Thursday, May 19, 2011

A salute to Ulf Georgii-Hemming

Your humble blogmeister meets the great Ulf Georgii-Hemming at his home in Tokyo.

As a lifelong fan of the movie Godzilla vs. Megalon, it was truly an honor for me to meet one of the most memorable characters from the film, none other than Ulf Georgii-Hemming. Often billed as "Wolf" Otsuki, the 76-year-old is a veteran of both the silver screen and the small screen, working as a character actor in Tokyo for decades.

Ulf stands in front of the Tokyo Sky Tree, even though he's not a huge fan of it!

Megalon is, by far, his best-known credit, but his work also includes: Kamen Rider Super-1, Rainbowman, and a regular role on Daitetsujin 17 as Professor Hessler.

Ulf in all his villainous glory in Daitetsujin 17.

Although Ulf improvised on the set of Daitetsujin 17, very little of his improvisations were allowed to remain in the finished programs.

But who is Ulf Georgii-Hemming? In G-FAN #89 (fall 2009), I interviewed him about his life and career, and in describing his background, Ulf reported:
I was born as a son to a Swedish architect, Gösta Georgii-Hemming, and a Japanese pianist, Toako Otsuki, (they married in Berlin, 1931) in Tokyo in 1934 and naturally got a Swedish nationality. But when Gösta was stopped in Stockholm under the Nazi invasion of European countries, I was forced to stay in Japan with my elder sister Fujiko and my mother. Then when I became 20 years old in Japan, I lost my Swedish nationality automatically because I had not entered Sweden even once. Besides, my parents split up by the end of the war and, in 1970, the divorce was legally confirmed. After having been a stateless person, I decided to get a Japanese nationality in the 1970s.

Tokyo shenanigans! You just know these two are up to no good!

Ulf is truly a larger-than-life character, a warm and generous man who absolutely loves life. This side of him was in evidence when I spent the day with him during Golden Week in Tokyo. On top of being a wonderful host and a great traveling companion, he showed me so much generosity, buying me dinner and a couple of souvenirs. He's certainly nothing like the Seatopian agent I watched growing up!

It's the Sky Tree again! However, as you can tell, Ulf doesn't seem to mind it so much in this shot.

I would certainly say that Ulf is an unsung hero of the genre. Perhaps this blog post will begin to change that. I certainly hope so. And maybe Ulf could turn up at a future G-FEST. I know an event like that would be a natural for him!

That's a wrap! Ulf and I dine on uncooked ocean dwellers to cap off a fun night. Photo by Yuri Nikaido.

You've seen the photos; now watch Ulf Georgii-Hemming in action! Below are some videos recorded from the day I hung out with him. Now isn't he the coolest?!

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