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Original actor to play Godzilla dead at 88

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Haruo Nakajima and friend in 2016; Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images(TOKYO) — The OG Godzilla has died. 

Haruo Nakajima [hah-roo-oh nah-kah-gee-mah] first donned the rubber costume to play the giant, radioactive reptile in 1954, when he was a 25-year-old stuntman.  He went on to play Godzilla — actually named Gojira [goh-jee-rah] but mangled into ‘Godzilla’ by American pronunciation attempts — 12 times in all, the last in 1972, by which time monster was a global phenomenon.

Nakajima told The New York Times he studied elephants at the zoo to create Godzilla’s signature swagger, and he sweat so much sometimes inside the rubber suit, which weighed over 200 pounds, he could squeeze enough water from his shirt to fill half a bucket. 

There have been more than 30 Godzilla movies in all, most of them Japanese-made.  The next, a sequel to Hollywood’s 2014 hit Godzilla, is due in 2019.

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