Mako Iwamatsu (December 10, 1933 — July 21, 2006), commonly known simply by Mako, was a Japanese-American actor and voice actor. He was born in Kobe, Japan. He immigrated to The United States as a young child, later becoming a citizen. He also had married actress Shizuko Hoshi, and left two daughters (both actresses) and three grandchildren.Mako's first film role was an uncredited one in the 1959 movie Never So Few. Later in 1965, frustrated with a lack of roles available for Asian actors he founded the East West Players company, a theatre guild for aspiring Asian actors, which he remained director of until 1989. He appeared in many films, starting with the 1966 movie The Sand Pebbles and also including The Hawaiians, The Killer Elite, Highlander III: The Sorcerer / Final Dimension (as well as Highlander The Series), Conan the Barbarian (1982) and Conan the Destroyer, Under the Rainbow, Sidekicks, RoboCop 3, Seven Years in Tibet, and Pearl Harbor. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in The Sand Pebbles, and a Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a musical for his role in the original of Pacific Overtures.Mako's last leading role was in the 2005 film Cages. The last work he contributed to was the animated movie TMNT, which he recorded the voiced role for Master Splinter mere days before his death. The finished film was later dedicated to his memory. An episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender (in which he voiced the character Iroh, until his death between the second and third seasons) also had the send-off, 'In Honour Of Mako', and gave a major character in its sequel series his name. Mako has a motion picture star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7095 Hollywood Blvd.Not to be confused with the Japanese voice actress of the same name.
Tropes associated with Mako:
- Cool Old Guy/Cultured Badass: His role as Iroh in Avatar: The Last Airbender and his final role as Splinter in TMNT.
- Ending Narration: For Dexter's Laboratory.
- Evil Sounds Deep: As he said about voicing Aku, "Evil comes from the belly."
- It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY"!: It's "Mah-ko." "May-ko" is the shark (and the combat vehicle from Mass Effect, named after the shark).
- Large Ham: As the evil Aku in Samurai Jack.
- ... a role that he later made fun of in Duck Dodgers.
- You Look Familiar: He had multiple recurring appearances on M*A*S*H but never played the same character twice.