James Shigeta

(1933)
Date of Birth: 17/06/1933
Height: 5' 9½" (1.77 m)

Hawaiian-born James Shigeta was for a time the biggest Asian-American star the country had known for decades. His up-and-down career reflected America's changing interest in films with Eastern themes, but when called upon he filled both A-movie starring roles and minor TV guest appearances with the same cool and classy style. An aspiring song-and-dance man early in his career, he had a series of romantic leading roles in the late fifties culminating in his most important one, the lead in Ross Hunter's glitzy production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical Flower Drum Song (1961). Supporting parts followed, his last showy turn coming again from Ross Hunter, with star billing and his own production number in the ill-fated musical remake of Lost Horizon (1973). Along the way there have been many notable TV guest appearances showcasing Shigeta's facility with both sympathetic and villainous roles. His status as the foremost Asian leading man of 20th century American film will endure undiminished by an erratic career.

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