Monday, September 22, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

James Shigeta | Singing actor, 85

James Shigeta, 85, who shared a Golden Globe in 1960 as most promising newcomer, but then never again played a leading-man role in a major film after 1961's Flower Drum Song, died Monday at an assisted-living facility in Beverly Hills, Calif.

He was in declining health since a stroke about two years ago, said his sister-in-law, Ellie Shigeta.

"He was so handsome, debonair," said actor James Hong, who appeared in several films and TV shows with Mr. Shigeta. "But there was the stigma in Hollywood about Asian leading men."

He was born in Honolulu to parents of Japanese heritage. He graduated from high school in Hawaii, where he sang in a choir, and later joined the Marines. His singing earned him his first national fame - he was a grand-prize winner in early TV's best-known talent show, The Original Amateur Hour.

One of his best-known later roles was a small but pivotal part in the first Die Hard movie (1988), in which he played a corporate executive. He also did voice work in Disney's Mulan (1998). - L.A. Times

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