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Japanese martial artist film star Sonny Chiba dies at 82

Sonny Chiba
Posted at 7:24 AM, Aug 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-20 10:42:05-04

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese actor Sonny Chiba, who wowed the world with his martial arts skills in more than 100 films, including "Kill Bill," has died.

He was 82.

His office says he died in a hospital while being treated for COVID-19.

Chiba rose to stardom in Japan in the 1960s, portraying samurai, fighters, and police detectives, doing many stunt scenes himself.

His overseas career took off after "The Street Fighter" proved popular in the United States.

American director Quentin Tarantino listed the work as among his "grindhouse" favorites and cast him as master swordsmith Hattori Hanzo in "Kill Bill."

Chiba's career was also boosted by the boom in kung fu films, set off by Chinese legend Bruce Lee, although with a dirtier fighting style.

According to the Associated Press, Chiba also appeared in the 1991 movie "Aces."

In 1980, Chiba created the Japan Action Club, which helped develop Japanese actor Hiroyuki Sanada, who starred in “The Last Samurai” and “Rush Hour 3,” the AP reported.

Chiba is survived by three children, Juri Manase, Mackenyu Arata, and Gordon Maeda.