72 (passed away Jul. 21st, 2006)
Dec. 10th, 1933
Mako's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Born in Japan, Mako was living there with his grandparents while his parents studied art in the United States, when Japan and the U.S. went to war in 1941. His parents remained in the U.S., working for the Office of War Information, and, at the cessation of the conflict, were granted U.S. residency by Congress. Mako joined his parents in New York and studied architecture. He entered the U.S. Army in the early 1950s and acted in shows for military personnel, discovering a talent and love for the theatre. He abandoned his plans to become an architect and instead enrolled at the famed Pasadena Community Playhouse in California. Following his studies there, he appeared in many stage productions and on television. In 1966, he won an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actor for his first film role, as the coolie Po-Han in The Sand Pebbles (1966). Only occasionally since have his roles reached the level of his talents, but he has worked steadily in feature films ever since. He appeared on Broadway in the leading role in Stephen Sondheim's "Pacific Overtures" and he co-founded and served as artistic director for the highly-acclaimed East-West Players theatre company in Los Angeles. After a long battle and illness from cancer, he passed away on the twenty first of July in 2006, at the age of 72. He was survived by his wife, Shizuko Hoshi, who co-starred in episodes of "M*A*S*H" (1972), as well, and his children and grand-children.
- One of six Asian actors nominated for an Academy Award in an acting category. The others are 'Haing S. Ngor' (qv) who won Best Actor in a Supporting Role for _The Killing Fields (1984)_ (qv), 'Miyoshi Umeki' (qv) who won for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for _Sayonara (1957)_ (qv), 'Sessue Hayakawa' (qv) nominated for _The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)_ (qv), 'Ken Watanabe (I)' (qv) nominated for _The Last Samurai (2003)_ (qv), and 'Rinko Kikuchi' (qv) nominated for _Babel (2006)_ (qv).
- Passed away one day after being officially announced as the voice of "Master Splinter" in _TMNT (2007)_ (qv).
- One of nine actors of Asian descent nominated for an Academy Award in an acting category. The others are 'Miyoshi Umeki' (qv) who won Best Supporting Actress nominated for _Sayonara (1957)_ (qv), 'Sessue Hayakawa' (qv) nominated for _The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)_ (qv), 'Jocelyne LaGarde' (qv) nominated for _Hawaii (1966)_ (qv), 'Ben Kingsley' (qv) who won Best Actor for _Gandhi (1982)_ (qv), 'Haing S. Ngor' (qv) who won Best Supporting Actor for _The Killing Fields (1984)_ (qv), 'Pat Morita' (qv) nominated for _The Karate Kid (1984)_ (qv), 'Ken Watanabe (I)' (qv) nominated for _The Last Samurai (2003)_ (qv) and 'Rinko Kikuchi' (qv) nominated for _Babel (2006)_ (qv).
- Became a naturalized citizen in 1956.
- Received a special tribute as part of the Annual Memorial tribute at _The 79th Annual Academy Awards (2007) (TV)_ (qv).
- Artistic Director Emeritus of the nation's premier Asian American theatre organization, East West Players, located in the "Little Tokyo" area of Los Angeles, California, USA.
- In the months before his death, he was preparing to appear with his wife in an East West production of the comedy "Motty Chon." Instead of recasting the part, the company, out of respect, canceled the production.
- Frequently cast by 'Chuck Norris' (qv).
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