“Flower Drum Song” lead James Shigeta dies at 85

AP Wire Service


Scene from “Flower Drum Song” (Warner Brothers)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — James Shigeta, who played the lead in the 1961 movie musical “Flower Drum Song” and had a small role in the first “Die Hard,” has died. He was 85.

His sister-in-law, Ellie Shigeta, tells the Los Angeles Times (http://lat.ms/1le6ow4) that he died last Monday at an assisted-living facility in Beverly Hills.

Born in Hawaii, Shigeta first gained national fame as a singer when he won the grand prize in the early TV talent show, “The Original Amateur Hour.”

Although he briefly got the spotlight after “Flower Drum Song,” he never again played the leading man in a major film, although he continued to appear in TV shows and movies.

In 1988’s “Die Hard,” Shigeta played an executive who is shot by terrorists for refusing to divulge the codes to a vault.

He will be remembered for his contribution to promoting Asian Americans in arts and entertainment. (end)

Information from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com.

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