|Birthdate:||January 1, 1929|
Haruo Nakajima (中島 春雄, Nakajima Haruo) (born January 1, 1929) is a Japanese actor, best known for portraying Godzilla from the 1950s through the early 1970s. Haruo Nakajima was Godzilla for 12 movies straight. Nakajima was born in Yamagata, Japan. He is considered by many to be the best suit actor in the long history of the franchise. At the time, Toho's visual effects director, Eiji Tsuburaya considered Nakajima completely invaluable, and was employed to essay the roles of most of the kaiju (Japanese monsters) during his career as a suit actor. After 24 years, Nakajima retired from suit acting upon completion of Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972), when the studio cycled him out of their contract actor system, after Toho had been split into several subsidiaries in 1970. Nakajima was still employed by Toho for several years, and was transferred to a job at Toho's bowling alley, located on the studio lot (now defunct). Starting in the late 1990s, Nakajima made a series of personal appearances in Chicago, New York City, New Jersey, and Hollywood (in 2000) at various Japanese monster-themed conventions. He appeared at the Monsterpalooza convention in Burbank, California on April 8–10, 2011. His Japanese-language autobiography, 『怪獣人生 元祖ゴジラ俳優・中島春雄』 (Monster Life: Haruo Nakajima, the Original Godzilla Actor), published by Yosensha, was released on July 17, 2010.