10 December, 1933 - 21 July, 2006
Born in Japan, Mako Iwamatsu moved to the United States following the Second World War. He joined the military during the 1950s and it was around that time that he discovered his love for the theatre.
Mako had a long and successful career in the entertainment industry. He was featured in several episodes of M*A*S*H, he played the role of Akiro The Wizard in Conan the Barbarian, and he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as Po-Han in The Sand Pebbles.
The average age of Tumblrs being what it is, I think most would be surprised to learn of Mako’s presence throughout their childhood. Mako did voice work as “The Narrator” in several episodes of Dexter’s Laboratory, as Aku in Samurai Jack, as Uncle Iroh in Avatar: The Last Airbender, and as Master Splinter in the 2007 animated film TMNT (the film was released after his death).
Mako made several one-time appearances in many television programs throughout his career. No matter how small the part, however, he always found a way to breathe life, character, and heart into every performance.
Because Mako passed away in 2006 (shortly after recording season two of A:TLA), he was unable to finish his work as the lovable Uncle Iroh. However, the show’s creators honoured Mako’s contributions by naming a character in Legend of Korra after him.