Website last updated: 12-7-2024

Harold Sakata (Actor)

By: Steve Oxenrider
Harold Sakata Goldfinger
Oddjob in GOLDFINGER 1964

“Oddjob Speaks!” - Recollections by our dear contributor Steve Oxenrider.

There was a time when film stars were much more accessible than they are today. It was my final year of high school April 1968 when a friend and I learned that Harold Sakata’s telephone number was listed in the directory for Honolulu, Hawaii. At that time, a call from Pennsylvania to Hawaii was a considerable expense which I knew my parents would not appreciate. So I was forced to use the pay phone in the lobby of a hotel in my hometown. The operator said that once Mr. Sakata answered the phone, I could begin to deposit the payment.

It took more than three minutes—and quite a bit of Oddjob’s patience—for me to nervously insert the 9.45 dollars in U.S. coins into the pay telephone. About halfway through the process, Sakata could be heard on the other end chuckling heartily as the phone operator explained to him what I was doing.

At first, Sakata seemed perplexed why anyone would want to call him but became quickly engaged. There was not much ‘substance’ to our conversation, other than for us to get acquainted and to explain my adoration for the actor’s film work, especially his now legendary role as Oddjob in Goldfinger (1964) (1964).

Sakata explained, in a deep and husky voice, how in 1964 he had been travelling around England on a professional wrestling tour as ‘Tosh Togo’ when he was spotted and selected by the Bond producers (Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman) for the role of Oddjob. Sakata also talked about a series of television commercials he had just done for Vicks Formula 44, a popular cough syrup. At first he was reluctant to do the ads because they he felt they betrayed his image as a healthy, powerful man. Our chat soon came to an end but not before he requested I write him a letter to share my address. We managed to keep in touch through my first year of college with letters and photos but lost contact afterward. This brief friendship will always be one of my most treasured moments as a James Bond fan and collector.

Editor's note:
Steve still has the original reel-to-reel tape recording of the conversation which he hopes to have transferred.

Other people involved in Goldfinger that FSWL has met:
>Burt Kwouk
>Caron Gardner
>Desmond Llewelyn
>Guy Hamilton (director)
>Honor Blackman
>John Barry (soundtrack)
>Ken Adam (production designer)
>Leslie Bricusse (lyricist)
>Lois Maxwell
>Margaret Nolan
>Martin Benson
>Monty Norman (composer of the James Bond theme)
>Nadja Regin
>Norman Wanstall (dubbing editor)
>Rocky Taylor (stuntman)
>Sean Connery
>Shirley Bassey (singer of the title song)
>Shirley Eaton
>Tania Mallet
>Terry Richards (stuntman)
>Tricia Muller

Photo above:
An inscribed photo from Harold Sakata. © Steve Oxenrider. All rights reserved.

Text written and published by Anders Frejdh in July 2013.



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