James Shigeta who is best known for his starring Hollywood roles in the late 50s and 60s has died at the age of 81, reports the Hollywood Reporter.
Shigeta was born in Hawaii and is of Japanese ancestry.
He starred in the Rodger’s and Hammerstein musical Flower Drum Song in the 1960s after making his feature debut in the Crimson Kimono in 1959. His character in that movie was considered groundbreaking. He played an Asian detective without an exaggerated accent, as opposed to a non-Asian speaking in broken English and made up to look Asian.
In 1960, Shigeta was named by the Golden Globes along with three others as the
“most promising male newcomer.”
More recently he played the ill-fated executive in Bruce Willis’ Die Hard in 1988,and had roles in Cage II: The Arena of Death in 1994 and was a voice in Disney’s animated Mulan in 1998.
His publicist says Shigeta died at his Los Angeles home on Monday.