However, Nakajima was best known for playing the King of all Monsters in Ishiro Honda's Godzilla, and eleven of its sequels.
Haruo Nakajima, the actor who played the original Godzilla in the 1954 Japanese classic, has died aged 88.
Born in Yagamata, Japan, in 1929 Nakajima started his film career as a stuntman, getting his first acting break at the age of 25 as the instantly recognisable giant lizard. In between Godzilla gigs, Nakajima was a contract performer at Toho Studios, finding work in not only other tokusatsu (special effects) and daikaiju films, but in all manner of other genres as well, even working with Kurosawa on The Seven Samurai, Yojimbo, and The Hidden Fortress. Godzilla continues to be a popular character on film in both Japan and in its Hollywood remakes. Unbeknownst to many fans, Nakajima made several human cameos in the series of films, including as a newspaper writer in the original Godzilla, a military advisor in Destroy All Monsters, and a comic book publisher in his final kaiju film.
In the late 1990s, Nakajima began making a series of appearances in celebration of his groundbreaking work as the principal suit actor in the classic Godzilla movies, with events that saw him become the main attraction of various Japanese monster-themed conventions in the United States.
Many people assume the Godzilla costume was made from rubber.
He recalled that the rubber suit he wore was so hot, especially under the glaring lights of the movie set, that the sweat he wrung from his shirt would fill half a bucket.
He suited up one last time in Jun Fukuda's Godzilla vs. Gigan.
"Godzilla is a creature of the Americans", Nakajima told CBS. "He showed our audiences that atomic bombs are frightening". In 2014, he gave an interview where he said: "I am the original, the real thing".