Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The most famous henchman? Harold Sakata’s Odd Job…Day 182 of Bond 365

Harold Sakata
Born this day in 1920
Oddjob in Goldfinger

I was anxiously looking forward to writing about Harold Sakata because as probably the most famous henchman of the James Bond films, I only know Sakata from his portrayal as Odd Job in Goldfinger (1964). I know that fan will argue for other henchmen, but I think the fact that he was mute lent an air of mystery and heightened the sense of danger from his character. 

Sakata was born Toshiyuki Sakata in Holualoa, Hawaii. He took an interest in sports, which he continued through adulthood. He participated in the 1948 Summer Olympics in London and took home a Silver Medal in weightlifting. Afterwards, Sakata donned the name “Tosh Togo” and became a professional wrestler. He was considered a bad guy wrestler by supposedly partaking in bad sportsmanship through the fake action of throwing salt in his opponent’s eyes. His bad boy image may have been what attracted the attention of Bond producers Harry Saltzman and Albert Broccoli.

The producers were looking to cast an actor who could convey a menacing presence without the assistance of dialogue. In Sakata, who had no acting experience, Saltzman and Broccoli saw their Odd Job. Did they know how iconic Sakata’s portrayal of Odd Job would become forever entrenched in the history of filmic James Bond?

Sakata had 30 acting credits according to IMDB. His roles seem to spread about evenly between film and television. He did quite a few guest appearances, including one on Gilligan’s Island, Hawaii Five-O and The Rockford Files. For the tv show Sarge (1971-1972), Sakata appeared multiple times as Takichi.

He passed away from liver cancer in Honolulu at the age of 62.

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