Mie Hama was born in Tokyo, Japan on November 20, 1943 in a blue-collar Tokyo family whose small cardboard factory burned down in World War II. She grew up poor. She first started out working as a bus fare collector. While working, she was spotted by producer Tomoyuki Tanaka when she was only sixteen years old, and was soon employed at Toho Studios. She appeared in a bevy of drama and sci-fi films, including King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962), where she became the Giant Ape’s “Damsel in Distress.” She is probably best known in Western Cinema as Bond girl Kissy Suzuki, starring alongside actor Sean Connery in the 007 film You Only Live Twice (1967). That same year, King Kong Escapes (1967) was released, thus, she portrayed the spellbinding “Bond-girlish” villainess Madamn Piranha. Her extended wardrobe and enchanted bed chambers contributed to the film’s “James Bond-ish” atmosphere. In addition, Hama would sometimes be referred to as “Funny Face,” due to her appearances in Japan’s “Crazy Cats” movies.
She became one of the most popular actresses in Japan’s “Golden Age” of Cinema, but has done little acting when Japan’s cinema world experienced severe financial problems. However, she did return to appear in a few films in the 1970s and 1980s, and she is seen, most recently, working as an active environmentalist, radio and television talk show host. She also married a television executive with whom she has four children.
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