American Olympic weightlifter, professional wrestler, and film actor. …
...He won a silver medal for the United States at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London in weightlifting.
He was also an actor, with his most famous role as the villain Oddjob in the James Bond film Goldfinger.
Toshiyuki Sakata was born on July 1, 1920 in Holualoa, Hawaii, of Japanese descent. He moved to the United States mainland and began to go by the more Western name "Harold." At the age of eighteen, he weighed only 113 lb (8 st 1 lb) (51 kg) at a height of 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m). Wanting to "look as good as the other guys", he started lifting weights. Sakata served in the United States Army during World War II. He spent his early life training as a weightlifter and won a silver medal for the United States at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London, lifting a total of 410 kg in the light-heavyweight division.
...He also did a stint as a professional wrestler under the name Tosh Togo
(billed as the brother of Great Togo with a family gimmick, including karateka
Masutatsu Oyama as "Mas Togo" and judoka Kokichi Endo as "Ko Togo") from
the early 1950s until the early 1960s, becoming Canadian Tag Team Champion.
Bond producers Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli took notice of Sakata because of his heavy build— he stood 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m) and weighed 284 lb (129 kg)—which, when coupled with his intimidating gaze, made him the perfect choice for the part of Oddjob. He had no acting background at all besides pro wrestling but the film character was to be mute and would require little theatrical skill. Before Sakata had secured the role of Oddjob, another former wrestler, British actor Milton Reid, had auditioned for the role. In 1964 Reid challenged Sakata to a wrestling contest and suggested that the winner ought to get the role. However, given that Reid had been in Dr. No and that his character had been killed off, the producers decided to go with Sakata and the wrestling match did not take place.
...As Oddjob, he was bodyguard to Bond villain Auric Goldfinger and his sharpened, steel-brimmed bowler hat became a famous and much-parodied trademark of the Bond series. While filming Oddjob's death scene, Sakata's hand was badly burnt, but he held on until he heard director Guy Hamilton call "Cut". Sakata appeared in several other movies in similar roles and took on "Oddjob" as an informal middle name (in the films Mako: The Jaws of Death and The Happy Hooker Goes to Washington he was credited as Harold "Oddjob" Sakata).
...With time, Sakata's acting skills improved. He co-starred opposite William Shatner in the movie Impulse, in which he played the character Karate Pete. He also guest starred on a Gilligan's Island episode as Rory Calhoun's henchman, and an episode of The Rockford Files. In 1971, Sakata was a regular on the short-lived TV series, Sarge, starring George Kennedy.
...The advertisement commonly showed Oddjob with a nasty cough, which results in him demolishing everything around him as his spasms make him inadvertently lash out, and frightening his wife as his condition grows worse and worse. She grabs a bottle of Vicks Formula 44 and gives Oddjob a spoonful of the cough syrup, which cures his cough; the two bow to each other, and then the wife looks past Oddjob to take in the destruction he has caused. This was occasionally followed by an add-on for a cough drop version of the syrup, which Oddjob ingests before he is claimed by a coughing fit in an extremely crowded space. At least one domestic and one outdoor version of this commercial are known. Sakata made an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson on which he parodied the commercial by destroying Carson's set.
Sakata died of liver cancer on July 29, 1982, in St Francis Hospital, Honolulu, Hawaii,
and was buried at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, HI. ...