Actress Keiko Awaji, known for her role as the girlfriend of a U.S. Navy airman in the 1954 Hollywood movie “The Bridges at Toko-Ri” about the Korean War, died of esophageal cancer at a Tokyo hospital Saturday, her talent agency said. She was 80.
Awaji was also known for her role as a show business girl in director Akira Kurosawa’s 1949 film “Nora Inu” (“Stray Dog”), and for her role in two of the movies in director Yoji Yamada’s “Otoko wa Tsurai yo” (“It’s Tough Being a Man”) series, which began in 1969.
After dropping out of high school and joining the SKD Revue, Awaji, whose real name was Ayako Ida, made her movie debut in “Stray Dog.” She subsequently portrayed a range of roles in both serious and comic movies.
In 1966, she married Kabuki and movie actor Yorozuya Kinnosuke, her second husband, and retired as an actress. After a break of more than 20 years, she made a comeback in the “Otoko wa Tsurai yo” series.
Last year, she starred in a Japanese movie titled “Shijukyunichi no Recipe” (“Mourning Recipe”).