TOKYO, (AP) - Ishiro Honda, who directed the first science fiction movies of the
monster "Godzilla" stomping on famous landmarks, has died in a Tokyo hospital,
a hospital official said on Mar. 1. He was 81.
The official declined to specify the cause of Honda's death, but he had been reported
suffering from respiratory problems.
More than 13 million people turned out to see the first Godzilla movie, directed
by Honda in 1954 for Toho Co.
In the story, Godzilla is brought back to life by nuclear testing in the Pacific
and runs roughshod over big buildings.
In later films he defends Japan against various threats, although he is neither totally
good nor evil-just used to smashing anything in his way.
Toho said Honda, whose interest quickly turned to special effects, directed 45 films
between 1951 and 1975, including about a dozen monster movies. Titles included "King
Kong vs. Godzilla."