The King (of the Monsters) is Dead: Long Live the King

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Godzilla on the march

He destroyed Tokyo almost a dozen times, but Godzilla, King of the Monsters, has finally succumbed to time.

Or, more precisely, the actor who marched in the rubber suit across scale models of cities, has passed.

Haruo Nakajima was a stuntman in 1954 when he first donned the reptilian hide -- which was not rubber in the beginning, but concrete and over 200 pounds! After the original release of GODZILLA (or GOJIRA if you're a true kaiju purist), Nakajima went on to play the nuclear lizard eleven more times, with the last being the 1972 creature feature, GODZILLA VS. GIGAN.

Nakajima studied the walking patterns of bears and elephants to develop the signature gait of Godzilla, and went on to appear in other monster movies. He also played a role in the equally classic SEVEN SAMURAI.

THe actor died of pneumonia. He was 88.