Ken Watanabe battling cancer but promises fans he'll be back

TOKYO -- Ken Watanabe, one of a handful of Japanese actors who has made it on the international stage, underwent surgery for stomach cancer.

See Full Article

But he has beaten serious sickness before, having had leukemia more than 20 years ago.

The early-stage cancer was found in a medical checkup, the Tony- and Oscar-nominated actor said on his Japanese Twitter account. His publicist confirmed the sickness Tuesday, noting the 56-year-old actor will be forced to delay his return to Broadway's "The King and I."

But Watanabe said he'd be back.

"I hate to worry you, but please wait," he tweeted in Japanese.

He had been scheduled to return to the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical from March 1-April 17.

He also said he was grateful to his wife, actress Kaho Minami, for having recommended a checkup, and to his daughter, also an actress, for recommending a doctor.

Craig Bankey, Watanabe's press agent, said Tuesday in New York the actor underwent endoscopic surgery and is recuperating.

Watanabe, who has appeared in Christopher Nolan's "Batman Begins" and "Inception," also starred in the reboot of "Godzilla" and "Letters From Iwo Jima," directed by Clint Eastwood, and lent his voice to the fourth installment of the Transformers franchise, "Transformers: Age of Extinction."

He earned an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actor in the Tom Cruise-led film "The Last Samurai." "The King and I" was named best musical revival at last year's Tonys and is also nominated for a Grammy for best musical theatre album.

Before his arrival in Hollywood, Watanabe acted in a range of Japanese films, including 1986's "The Sea and Poison," which focused on the serious topic of biological experiments the Japanese carried out on American prisoners of war. The film won an award at the Berlin film festival.

Watanabe took part in more light-hearted works, such as Juzo Itami's "Tampopo," a deliciously colorful film about a noodle restaurant, and Japanese samurai films and TV shows as well.

He had leukemia in the late 1980s and a relapse but has worked regularly since.

Watanabe has long stressed his pride in being part of the legacy of Japanese films -- a legacy he has helped create in a career spanning more than three decades, following predecessors like Toshiro Mifune and Tatsuya Nakadai, who were in Akira Kurosawa films.

In an interview with The Associated Press in 2013, Watanabe said his move into U.S. movies refreshed him, allowing him to relive that same uncertainty and thrill when he started out in the movies in his 20s, he said.

"Actors are always afraid of ending up like overcooked old soup over time. What's risky is that you don't realize this has happened, and you just get thick and boring," said Watanabe.

"Going abroad was like getting a new pot to cook everything again. I was a rookie, a new self. And they were asking me: Who are you?"

AP Drama Writer Mark Kennedy contributed to this report



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Roger Moore: from Saint to 007

    Entertainment CTV News
    British actor Roger Moore was never one to boast about his acting ability but then the facts spoke for themselves -- he played James Bond in more films than any other man. Known for his ironically raised eyebrow and deadpan quips, Moore's take on the suave superspy was more tongue-in-cheek than that of his manly predecessor Sean Connery. Source
  • Jury selection enters 2nd day in Bill Cosby sex assault case

    Entertainment CTV News
    PITTSBURGH -- Jury selection resumed Tuesday in Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial as prosecutors and the defence seek to fill out a panel of 12 jurors and six alternates in a case that has attracted worldwide publicity. Source
  • Roger Moore, former 'James Bond', dead at 89

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    British actor Sir Roger Moore has died aged 89. The James Bond actor passed away in Switzerland on Tuesday following a short battle with cancer, his family announced on his official Twitter page. “It is with a heavy heart that we must announce our loving father, Sir Roger Moore, has passed away today in Switzerland after a short but brave battle with cancer. Source
  • Ariana Grande says she is 'broken' after Manchester bombing

    Entertainment CTV News
    Pop star Ariana Grande has broken her silence about the horrific bombing that killed at least 22 concert-goers and injured around 60 others after her concert in Manchester, England on Monday night. The 23-year-old American singer tweeted a message to her followers at nearly 3 a.m. Source
  • Sir Roger Moore dies at 89

    Entertainment CTV News
    Photos Source
  • Sir Roger Moore, star of 7 James Bond films, dies at 89

    Entertainment CTV News
    LONDON -- Roger Moore, the suavely insouciant star of seven James Bond films, has died in Switzerland. He was 89. The British actor died Tuesday after a short battle with cancer, according to a family statement posted on Moore's official Twitter account. Source
  • Katy Perry on Taylor Swift feud: 'She started it'

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Katy Perry has spoken for the first time about her feud with Taylor Swift, insisting the 27-year-old singer “started it”. The beef between the two stars is reported to have kicked off in 2012, when Katy started dating Taylor’s ex John Mayer. Source
  • Cannes festival to hold moment of silence for Manchester

    Entertainment CTV News
    CANNES, France -- The Cannes Film Festival said it will hold a moment of silence Tuesday for the victims of the attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England. The festival invited all festivalgoers to "show their solidarity with the victims, their families and the British people" with a minute of silence at 3 p.m. Source
  • Cannes festival holds moment of silence for Manchester

    Entertainment CTV News
    CANNES, France -- The Cannes Film Festival paused Tuesday for a moment of silence to honour the victims of the attack at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England. Thierry Fremaux, director of the festival, led Cannes in a minute of silence from the red-carpet steps of the Palais, the festival's hub. Source
  • 'Broken' Ariana Grande suspends tour after attack at Manchester concert

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Ariana Grande is “broken” after a suspected terrorist attack at her Manchester Arena gig in the U.K. killed 22 people and injured dozens more. The horrific incident occurred in the box office area of the venue at around 10.40pm local time after the gig on Monday night, when a lone male attacked carrying an improvised explosive device claimed the lives of 22 people. Source