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Mako Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (4)  | Trade Mark (1)  | Trivia (1)  | Personal Quotes (6)

Overview (4)

Born in Kobe, Japan
Died in Somis, California, USA  (esophageal cancer)
Birth NameMakoto Iwamatsu
Height 5' 4" (1.63 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Born in Japan, Makoto Iwamatsu 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", as he became known, 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. 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). He worked steadily in feature films since.

He appeared on Broadway in the leading role in Stephen Sondheim's "Pacific Overtures", and co-founded and served as artistic director for the highly-acclaimed East-West Players theatre company in Los Angeles.

Following a long battle with cancer, Mako passed away on July 21, 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 grandchildren.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jim Beaver/Robert Sieger

Family (4)

Spouse Shizuko Hoshi (? - 21 July 2006)  (his death)  (2 children)
Children Sala Iwamatsu
Mimosa Skelton
Parents Atsushi Iwamatsu
Mitsu Yashima
Relatives Momo Yashima (sibling)

Trade Mark (1)

Raspy, thick-accented voice

Trivia (1)

Was an American actor.

Personal Quotes (6)

[on the barriers that Asian-American actors have to face in Hollywood]: I go into a young film director's office these days and he says, "Hey man, I know who you are. I grew up watching McHale's Navy (1962)." And I think, "Oh boy, here we go again.".
Of course we've been fighting against stereotypes from Day One at East West. That's the reason we formed: to combat that, and to show we are capable of more than just fulfilling the stereotypes -- waiter, laundryman, gardener, martial artist, villain.
I was a very happy child, so to speak. But since we didn't have video games or television, and very little radio, in terms of a form of entertainment, I used to read a lot and I would draw a lot, and those two things used to occupy my time.
I had no idea how difficult Sondheim's music would be. All through the rehearsals, I kept flubbing. There were so many tempo changes. I could never get through the opening number without any mistakes. One day, I went up to Hal Prince and offered to leave the show. He laughed it off. He said, "Don't be silly. That's why we have tryouts.".
No matter what happens, we couldn't let people say Asian-American actors can't act.
I came to America to become an architect. And somewhere along the line while I was still in school, I was lured into theater, and that's how I became interested in theater. My first play was something called "A Banquet for the Moon". It was a weird play.

See also

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