Singer and actor Lane Nakano died April 28 in Sherman Oaks of emphysema. He was 80.
Nakano starred in “Go For Broke,” the first major Hollywood film to feature Japanese-American actors. Born in Los Angeles, he grew up in the Boyle Heights area. After the outbreak of World War II, he and his family were held at the Heart Mountain Internment Camp.
He was a member of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, made up entirely of Niseis (American citizens of Japanese descent), which went on to become the most highly decorated combat unit in World War II.
After the war, he became a prominent singer in the Japanese-American community, singing at the Hollywood Bowl and at the La Scala Opera House. Director Robert Pirosh cast him as the lead Japanese-American actor in 1951 film “Go For Broke,” about the 442nd Combat Team and its role in saving the Texas “Lost Battalion” in France.
He appeared on TV on shows such as “Hawaiian Eye” and appeared in features including “Japanese War Bride’ and “Three Weeks of Love.”
He is survived by his wife Fumi, two sons, a brother and two sisters.