Michael Okada will turn 70 in September

Michael Okada as the kickboxer Johnny Kim

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The actor, director and screenwriter Michael Okada will turn 70 this year. The perfect excuse to record some of the highlights from the career of

‘The Man Who Loves To Hate … You!’

For those of you who don’t immediately know whom I am talking about: Michael Okada pelleted to fame in the 1960s with his impressive role as a frustrated criminal who has been seduced into a kidnapping in  Coup de Grace.

Coup de Grace still
Coup de Grace film stillIn this scene Okada loses his virginity

In 1973 he dazzled the world audience as the kickboxer Johnny Kim in the movie Whatever Happened To Johnny Kim. This role caused quite a stir among the critics. In this movie Johnny Kim destroys his chances to win an important championship, when he turns out to be a serial rapist. Not exactly the perfect role model for young people. The film was threatened with a boycott (see film still above)

Three years later he again chose to play an extremely complex character, this time in Two Worlds, Two Wars. In this Vietnam-war drama he is a soldier who falls in love with someone from the enemy camp. Opposites attract. He will pay for this with his life. This time the critics didn’t mind.

“Blue” scene from Two Worlds, Two Wars

And one year later Okada starred in A General Tragedy, another story about war, cruelty and the unpredictability of the human race. He plays one of two generals in an idyllic and peaceful country who overturn the government and start plotting against each other. None other than Dustin Hoffman plays the other general.

Now you remember?

You don’t?

Possibly not. Michael Okada is one of the many characters the artist Elise Tak has been working on for many years. Her actors come with complete and fully detailed biographies, filmographies and accompanying gossip magazines.

A selection of other characters from Elise Tak’s oeuvre:


Thomas Kirby in his role as an unemployed man in Not The Slightest Notion, 1975


Ricky Racket 1992



Charlie Pep als ‘DeeJay’ in de gelijknamige film uit 1996 scene: disco dance

See for more:  http://www.elisetak.comPoster General Tragedy: collection Museum Boijmans van Beuningen (Netherlands)
Ricky Racket: collection Gemeentemuseum Helmond (Netherlands)
Coup de Grace; collections Gemeentemuseum Helmond en Heden, Den Haag (Netherlands) & 2 separate private collections. Two Worlds, Two Wars: private collection, DeeJay: 2 separate private collections


Exhibition ‘Good & Evil’
Galerie Vivid, Rotterdam (Netherlands)
April 29 – June 17, 2012 
With: Elise Tak, Atelier Van Lieshout, Gijs Bakker, Bas van Beek, Boudewien van den Berg, Gregory Green, Dirk Van der Kooij, Ted Noten, Dennis Parren, Hisakazu Shimizu. www.galerievivid.com

with thanks to Liesbeth Nieuwenweg and Elise Tak (copyrights:Elise Tak)