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James Shigeta, 85; actor in ‘Flower Drum Song’

Mr. Shigeta and Nancy Kwan were in the 1961 film “Flower Drum Song.”

Universal Studios

Mr. Shigeta and Nancy Kwan were in the 1961 film “Flower Drum Song.”

LOS ANGELES — James Shigeta, who played the lead in the 1961 movie musical ‘‘Flower Drum Song’’ and had a small role in the first ‘‘Die Hard,’’ has died. He was 85.

His sister-in-law, Ellie Shigeta, told the Los Angeles Times that he died Monday at an assisted-living facility in Beverly Hills.

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Born in Hawaii, Mr. Shigeta first gained national fame as a singer when he won the grand prize in the early televised talent show, ‘‘The Original Amateur Hour.’’

Although he briefly got the spotlight after ‘‘Flower Drum Song,’’ he never again played the leading man in a major film, although he continued to appear in television shows and movies.

In 1988’s ‘‘Die Hard,’’ Mr. Shigeta played an executive who is shot by terrorists for refusing to divulge the codes to a vault.

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