Actor Yamada Tatsuo died at a Tokyo hospital on Sunday of stomach cancer. He was 53. A versatile actor, Yamada made his movie debut with the starring role in the rock-and-roll biker flick “Crazy Thunder Road,” described by the IMDB as “bizarrely compelling.” The 1980 movie was the directorial debut of former punk musician Ishii Sogo and has been compared, both in terms of its imagery and its spirit, to “Mad Max” (George Miller, 1979) and Sam Raimi’s “The Evil Dead” (1982). Thus began a career that included more than three dozen movies. One of the most recent was last year’s award-wining “Okuribito” (Departures), whose director Takita Yoji was an old school friend. Yamada’s final film was “Shizumanu Taiyo” (Never-setting Sun), which is scheduled to open in October. Yamada was first discovered with cancer in June 2005 and he underwent surgery to have his stomach removed. But at the end of last year, the disease was found to have spread and he was hospitalized again.
• Actor Matsuda Ryuhei (26) announced on his website yesterday that his wife, model Ota Rina (21), gave birth to their first child on July 4. The couple married in January after an 18-month relationship. Their new daughter is the first grandchild of Ryuhei’s father, legendary actor Matsuda Yusaku (1949-89).
• Veteran actor Ono Takehiko (66) had a brush with the law late Sunday night. According to Metropolitan police, Ono’s car hit a police car as he made a left turn at an intersection in the Setagaya district of Tokyo. The incident is being treated as a relatively minor “traffic accident resulting in property damage.” Ono is best known in recent years as the police division chief in the “Odoru Daisosasen” (Bayside Shakedown) movie series.