Research Guru / Moderator
May 7, 2010, 12:37 PM
Popular Japanese actress Tanie Kitabayashi, the voice of grandmother Kanta no obāsan in the 1988 Studio Ghibli movie My Neighbor Totoro (Tonari No Totoro), died April 27 of pneumonia at a Tokyo hospital. She was 98.
Tanie Kitabayashi was "My Neighbor Totoro" grandma
Kyodo News confirmed the film, TV and stage star's death with Mingei Theatre Co. officials on Thursday.
Kitabayashi was also in the cast of 1989's Twilight of the Cockroaches (Gokiburi-Tachi No Tasogare), a movie that combined animation (the cockroaches) with live actors (the humans).
Born Reiko Ando in Tokyo on May 21, 1911, she began as a stage actress. Early in her career, she became well-known for portraying older women. Kitabayashi was a founding member of the famed Mingei Theatre, founded in 1950.
She won the Award of the Japanese Academy for Best Actress for her role in Daiyukai (1991). The role also won her Best Actress awards at the Mainichi Film Concours and Kinema Junpo Award.
In 1960, she won Best Actress awards at the Mainichi Film Concours and the Blue Ribbon Awards for her work in Kiku to Isamu.
For her role in Amida-do dayori, she won the Award of the Japanese Academy for Best Supporting Actress in 2003.
Kitabayashi's well-known film appearances included Branch School Diary (1978), Tora-san's Song of Love (1983) and Letter from the Mountain (2002). Her other films included Children of Hiroshima, The Hole, My Second Brother, Odd Obsession, Foundry Town, The Insect Woman, Apart from Life and Rainbow Kids.
In 1978, she received the Japanese government's Medal with Purple Ribbon, which is bestowed for accomplishments in the arts, academia and sports.
[Via United Press International -- http://www.upi.com/.../UPI-36221273192295/, Associated Press/Kyodo -- http://www.breitbart.com/...0&show_article=1]