Artistic Director Emeritus of the nation's premier Asian American theatre organization, East West Players, located in the "Little Tokyo" area of Los Angeles, California, USA.
Became a naturalized citizen in 1956.
Children: daughters Sala and Mimosa.
Frequently cast by Chuck Norris.
He was the East West Players' first artistic director in 1965. He also taught acting classes there to help pay the company's bills. The company's first home was a basement in a Silver Lake church secured by co-founder Beulah Quo. Later, it moved to a storefront on Santa Monica Blvd. Since 1998, it has been housed in the historic Union Center for the Arts and performs in a 240 seat theater.
His father Atsushi Iwamatsu who went by the pen name Taro Yashima, wrote the famous children's books Crow Boy and Umbrella.
In the months before his death, he was preparing to appear with his wife in an East West production of the comedy "Motty Chon." Instead of recasting the part, the company, out of respect, canceled the production.
Member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Actors Branch).
One of eight actors of Asian descent nominated for an Academy Award in an acting category. The others are Miyoshi Umeki who won Best Supporting Actress nominated for Sayonara (1957), Sessue Hayakawa nominated for The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), Ben Kingsley who won Best Actor for Gandhi (1982), Haing S. Ngor who won Best Supporting Actor for The Killing Fields (1984), Pat Morita nominated for The Karate Kid (1984), Ken Watanabe nominated for The Last Samurai (2003) and Rinko Kikuchi nominated for Babel (2006).
One of six Asian actors nominated for an Academy Award in an acting category. The others are Haing S. Ngor who won Best Actor in a Supporting Role for The Killing Fields (1984), Miyoshi Umeki who won for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Sayonara (1957), Sessue Hayakawa nominated for The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), Ken Watanabe nominated for The Last Samurai (2003), and Rinko Kikuchi nominated for Babel (2006).
Passed away one day after being officially announced as the voice of "Master Splinter" in TMNT (2007).
Pioneer of Asian American theater in Los Angeles.
Received a special tribute as part of the Annual Memorial tribute at The 79th Annual Academy Awards (2007) (TV).
Was nominated for Broadway's 1976 Tony Award as Best Actor (Musical) for "Pacific Overtures."
Wife Shizuko Hoshi is a dancer, choreographer and actress.