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Actor Rodney Kageyama dead

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Los Angeles, Dec 15 (IANS) Actor-activist-Japanese-American community personality Rodney Kageyama has died in his sleep. He was 77.

He passed away early on December 9, according to his spouse, reports deadline.com.

Kageyama had major roles in “Karate Kid IV” with Hilary Swank, the Ron Howard film “Gung Ho” and the sitcom based on the film that followed, and TV movie “Hiroshima: Out of the Ashes”. He was a member of SAG and Actors Equity.

In addition to numerous roles in film and television, Kageyama became a well-known community activist, regularly emceeing in the Little Tokyo neighbourhood of downtown Los Angeles, as well as being a voice promoting the need for more Asian-Americans in the media.

Among the many social activist and community organisations, Kageyama was affiliated with the Asian-American Pacific Artists Association, The Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment (CAPE), East West Players, The Japanese American National Museum, and Nissei Week Japanese Festival.

Kageyama began his career in San Francisco in 1965 as one of the original members of the Asian-American Theater Company, and attended the American Conservatory Theater. In 1979, he moved to Los Angeles, where he joined the Asian-American theatre group East West Players (EWP), working as an actor, director and designer.

Kageyama received various awards later in his career, including the Ray Creevy Award at East West Players 39th Anniversary Awards, the Community Treasures Award by the Cherry Blossom Festival of Southern California, and the Nisei Week Inspiration Award, having been closely involved in various Nisei Week celebrations since 2003.

For the past 10 years, he has volunteered as a part-time docent at the Japanese-American National Museum, where he initiated a storytelling programme for children. Last month, he was honoured at the Aquarium of the Pacific’s Autumn Festival.

Kageyama is survived by his husband, Ken White.


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