The NYTimes reports that pioneering Asian American actor Mako has passed away at age 72.
Mako, who used only one name professionally, was born in Japan and came to the United States as a teenager. An Academy Award-nominated actor, he was also a distinguished presence on the Broadway stage, winning a Tony nomination in the leading role of the Reciter in the original cast of “Pacific Overtures.”
Mako earned an Oscar nomination for “The Sand Pebbles” (1966), in which he played opposite Steve McQueen. Among his other films are “Conan the Barbarian” (1982), “Conan the Destroyer” (1984), “Seven Years in Tibet” (1997), “Pearl Harbor” (2001) and “Memoirs of a Geisha,” released last year.
My family and I saw the revival of Pacific Overtures with B.D. Wong in the role of the Reciter—it was pretty awesome. The only one of Mako’s films I’ve seen is the recent and forgettable Memoirs of a Geisha, but perhaps we’ll watch The Sand Pebbles tonight in his memory.