Akihiko Hirata was a prolific film and television actor most famous for his role as the tragic scientist in "Godzilla. " Hirata initially had no interest in acting, instead choosing to study interior design at the prestigious Tokyo University. After developing an interest in still photography, he was introduced to the world of filmmaking by his older brother Yoshiki Onoda, who worked as assistant director at the famed Shintoho movie studio. Hirata soon followed him into directing and eventually landed a job at Toho, a Japanese film production company best known for releasing monster and special effects films. He made his film debut in 1953 with a role in the disaster film "Hoyo," and the following year he landed his most famous role, as tormented scientist Daisuke Serizawa-hakase in the global phenomenon "Godzilla." Though he was forever identified with "Godzilla" and his other monster films "Gorath," "Rodan," and "Mothra," Hirata also appeared in many samurai films, most notably in Hiroshi Inagaki's "Samurai" trilogy. In 1966 he landed a recurring role on the sci-fi series "Ultraman" and reprised his role in the 1967 film adaptation. During the '60s and '70s he appeared in a variety of comedic and dramatic roles for such prominent Japanese film directors as Akira Kurosawa, Ishiro Honda and Jun Fukuda.