Actor Arthur Lourant (left) in a behind-the-scenes shots from the TV drama Shiiku. Photo courtesy of Ebony magazine.
Best known to Japanese cult film fans in America as the Wester Island ambassador in Gamera vs. Jiger (a.k.a. Gamera vs. Monster X, 1970), as well as for his tour-de-force portrayal of Charlie in War of the Insects (a.k.a. Genocide, 1968), Mr. Lourant's acting career in Japan encompasses a much broader array of films, such as the gritty postwar drama Gate of Flesh (1964) and the envelope-pushing thriller Black Sun (1964), both of which were made at Nikkatsu Studios.
Mr. Lourant meets his fans in Japan. Photo courtesy of Ebony magazine.
While not much has ever been known about his background, a July 1963 edition of Ebony magazine (Vol. 18, #9) surfaced in recent years that has filled in many blanks. (Information culled from the article, which can be retrieved on Google here, is used in this blog post.) For many years, most writers in the West referred to him by the erroneous named Chico "Roland," which is likely a result of the katakana rendering of his name. But let's make it clear that his name is actually Arthur Lourant.
In 2010, I wrote a letter to Mr. Lourant, requesting an interview. I received a friendly call from Mr. Lourant's daughter, who told me that he read my letter more than once and was very surprised anyone would be so interested in his acting career. At that time, it seemed like an interview would be a sure bet, but unfortunately his health began to decline, so it never happened. I will always regret never having had a chance to speak directly with him.
Rest in peace, Chico-san.