Mariner Tucker (Center) with producer Fumio
Tanaka (Left) and special effects director
Teruyoshi Nakano (Right)
GUY MARINER TUCKER
The author of “Age of the Gods”
Author: August Ragone
I could hardly believe what I had just read
when Anthony Romero at Toho Kingdom announced
that my old friend, Guy Mariner Tucker, author
of "Age of the Gods: The History of the Japanese
Fantasy Film" (Daikaiju Publishing, 1996)
passed away on November 17th from heart failure.
This news was shocking, as I had just spoken to
him about a week before he passed away. I wondered
why I hadn't heard back from him. I knew that
Guy was profoundly affected by watching his father
being slowly eaten away by cancer, a tragic event
that profoundly transformed his life, leading
to Guy's alcoholism and his untimely passing.
He is survived by his mother.
Above all, Guy was a great and unselfish compatriot,
whom I knew for over twenty years. We met in the
pages of Uchusen magazine, and struck up a pen-pal
friendship. Guy was probably the most loyal and
giving person among all of the Japanese cinemaphiles
I have ever met (including myself). He was also
a terrifically talented writer with an amazing
insight on what made these films tick. I was taken
aback by the first pieces he sent me – there
were things I never considered until Guy pointed
them out in his essays. All while he was still
a teenager, no less. Guy made me look at these
films differently than I ever had before.
Guy moved to Tokyo in the late 1980s and, sharing
some of my modest contacts, he was one of the
few Americans able to befriend a good number of
the principals at Toho Studios during the Golden
Age of Japanese Cinema. Above all, he developed
close relationships with director Ishiro Honda
and composer Akira Ifukube, who both were behind
the making of the original GODZILLA. Then came
director Jun Fukuda (SON OF GODZILLA), visual
effects specialist Teruyoshi Nakano (SUBMERSION
OF JAPAN), producer Fumio Tanaka (THE WAR IN SPACE),
actors Yoshio Tsuchiya (SEVEN SAMURAI), Akira
Kubo (SANJURO), including Godzilla suit actors
Haruo Nakajima and Kenpachiro Satsuma. He conducted
hours of interviews with them.
Guy helped to bring some of these people to the
States for the early G-Cons (later G-Fest), and
wrote "Age of the Gods: The History of the
Japanese Fantasy Film." His knowledge and
understanding of kaiju eiga and Japanese cinema
history was profound – his insight and observations
into these films were keen beyond description.
He will be greatly missed by those who knew him
– Fumio Tanaka even wrote about Guy in his
biography of GODZILLA producer Tomoyuki Tanaka,
published in 1993 (long before the current U.S.
Enthusiastic and always ready to write, Guy did
just that all over the place – he was the
Associate Editor for Markalite magazine in the
early 1990s, adding immensely to its success.
Guy also wrote for numerous publications, including
G-Fan, Kaiju-Fan and Cult Movies, to name but
a few. Guy also loved film scores and really understood
the mechanics behind them. He reviewed film soundtracks
for well-respected periodicals such as Film Score
Monthly. Guy was also well acquainted with several
film composers, such as Jerry Goldsmith (ALIEN),
Akira Ifukube and others.
After his father passed away, things changed.
Sometimes the death of a close friend or loved
one, as with the case of Guy's father, can
lead to self-destructive behavior. Eventually,
through the prodding of several close friends,
he hoped to revise his 1996 book, and I was honored
that he asked me to partner with him on this project.
Ironically, his last writing will see print in
my forthcoming book on Eiji Tsuburaya (Chronicle
Books). These last essays were about Guy's
personal friendships with Ishiro Honda, Akira
Ifukube, and Jun Fukuda. I hope that those interested
will look forward to reading them because he truly
loved these films and was always excited to talk
about the entirety of Japanese Cinema.
I am privileged that Guy considered me one of
his best and most trusted friends; he stuck up
for me, and I for him – he even considered
me the brother he never had. So, now I have lost
another family member. Saying goodbye to Guy,
reminds me that he would oftentimes end our lengthy
phone conversations (he on the East Coast and
I on the West) with a "I love ya, buddy."
I love ya, too, my brother.
"My first introduction to Guy Tucker came
about on June 7th, 2004. He wrote in to point
out a careless mistake on my part in which I had
incorrectly cited The Human Revolution
when I meant Horror of the Wolf. It was
a brief e-mail, mostly to the point with a quick
closure relating to how he enjoyed seeing the
site grow. At the time, I had no idea who this
was, as Guy left no form of handle or any indication
as to who might have sent the message beyond his
However, I was still deeply interested to talk
with this person, as it's not everyday you find
someone fascinated in some of these more obscure
films. To my delight, I was met with a lengthy
response related to the two films and especially
Akira Ifukube's work on The Human Revolution.
This e-mail would end up being a spring board
for dozens to follow, until we moved our conversations
toward chats and other quicker means of communication.
This would lead into almost nightly rituals of
staying way into the next morning just to hear
all of Guy's experiences in Japan and his impact
in the fandom. He had much to say, and I was eager
to listen. Each night I was left in awe as to
his tales and revelations about those individuals
who made these films possible. I was deeply humbled
too when he accepted my invitation to join the
staff here later that month, as we quickly bonded.
To my amazement, my admiration for Guy only seemed
to increase with each passing month as I learned
more and more about his many contributions and
his visions for the future.
It was with a very heavy heart too that I heard
of his passing on November 17th, 2006; just a
little under two and half years after he introduced
himself and begin our quickly developing friendship.
Words couldn't express my feelings, as I was left
speechless and unable to even coordinate any kind
of response to the tragic news for quite awhile.
Like all sorrow, it hit me in stages, and what
got me the most was the thought of his plans for
the future which would now never be fulfilled.
It was this heart wrenching thought, after hearing
his enthusiasm for his impending projects, that
quickly formed a lump in the back of my throat,
while as I write this I fight back water from
forming in my eyes.
Yet, as one of my friends said just that night,
you want to think of the good times during this
stage of sorrow, and to that point I'm incredibly
thankful that I was given the opportunity and
privilege to have been introduced to Guy and the
conversations we had.
I won't pretend to have known Guy for a long time,
as compared with the countless friends he has
made in the fandom my introduction to him was
very recent, yet I was still deeply touched by
his passion for Japanese cinema and the joy he
took in sharing both his findings and adventures.
He was truly a remarkable man in every sense of
the word, and his legacy will live on. Rest in
- Anthony Romero
"I was shocked to read of Guy's passing.
I didn't know him personally, but have had a great
appreciation for his contributions to kaiju fandom
over the years, especially his AGE OF THE GODS
book. If possible, please pass my condolences
on to those who were close to him."
- Sam Scali
"I was deeply saddened to hear of Mr. Tucker's
passing. I had always hoped to meet with him to
thank him for his seminal work on the Toho fantasy
I am presently working on a book on Ishiro Honda,
and Mr. Tucker's "Age of the Gods" has
His contributions to the genre are still to be
- Peter H. Brothers
"I just heard about Guy and wanted to send
my condolences. I never met him, but we had several
mutual friends and I was a big fan of Age of
the Gods. I really enjoyed the love for the
genre he expressed in his writing.
Between Aaron Smith and Guy, its been a rough
year for the fandom."
- Keith Aiken
"I just wanted to express
my sincere condolences and sympathizes to Mr.
Tucker's family and friends. Though I only knew
as much of him as was shown on Toho Kingdom, it
was clear that he was a great man in general and
a wonderful source of kaiju information and fun
specifically. In both regards he will be greatly
missed. Please, if you can, pass on my best wishes
to his family."
- Evan Sizemore
"I had brief correspondence with him in
the 1990s while preparing my Gojira piece for
Cult Movies. He was their resident guy on all
things Toho. A fine writer, he was also very generous
and kind to me. What a shame."
- Ron Ford
"I have known Guy since he first wandered
into my office in 1990 to chew the fat about film
and music and anything else that came up. He was
in the process of graduating from college at Vasser,
if I recall correctly, which was the source of
some amusement to him. He settled briefly in California
during the early 90s, but the lifestyle didn't
suit and he had difficulty finding outlets for
his eclectic projects. A talented writer, with
a very different take on things, he loved discourse
and debate and his opinions were always challenging
engaging. His first love was for all things Japanese,
and his knowledge of that particular brand of
fantasy filmmaking was unsurpassed.
In 1996, his book entitled "Age of the Gods
- A History of the Japanese Fantasy Film"
was published, and it will long remain a seminal
work on the subject. Ideally, I believe, he would
have made a permanent move to Japan, but the world
that defined Guy's interest was past, and therein
lay the problem that would dog him all his short
life. Like so many creative and brilliant people,
Guy was troubled, and he constantly sought relief
from the demons that came savagely and often,
clawing and tearing at his self-esteem and emotional
well-being. After a stint in Florida, working
a government job that left him further unfulfilled,
he went home to Brooklyn to keep his mother company
during his father's terminal illness. He remained
there after his father died, and was still there
a month or so ago when he last telephoned me.
His lengthy phone conversations were always a
bittersweet affair - lively as ever in his ideas
and opinions on all current topics, he was unable
to conceal the pain at his own perceived lack
of accomplishment, and his despair at what the
future might hold. This last chat ran nearly three
hours, and it ended with Guy's resolve that he
would keep the faith despite his innermost doubts
that held dominion over him. He worried about
turning forty which loomed on the near-future
horizon, and made veiled references to his less
than stellar physical health. I have spoken with
Guy on the telephone countless times, and many
were the moments that I thought I would never
hear from him again, that he would just disappear
into an ancient world of the imagination. Ironically,
I didn't feel it after this one, hence my shock
at an event which was probably, in retrospect,
inevitable. Guy's is a peculiarly familiar story
in modern America - a singular, gifted talent
tries to go his own way and founders on the road,
lost and alone, caught inexorably at the crossroads
of the achievable and the unattainable. Guy's
is the most tragic case I have ever witnessed
firsthand, but yet, he left a mark, an indelible
stamp, that will not be forgotten. No need to
worry about that fortieth any longer--you can
carry on, forever young, keeping intact all those
possibilities--a deep well of yet-to-be-fulfilled
- Nick Redman
"I have been pondering what to say about
Guy since I first received news of his passing.
I still don't think the reality of the situation
has quite sunken in, and I still don't think I
can, or ever will, find the appropriate words.
I had heard of Guy, through his articles in magazines
such as 'Markalite' and from various friends of
his, before I ever met him. Eventually, we ended
up exchanging a few emails concerning fan based
matters ... and I met him in person for the first
time at the first "official" G-Con in
the early 90s.
Our acquaintance was only casual at this point.
For some reason, why I don't remember, he agreed
to read a script I had written for a short film
called 'The Big Tip' - about a week later, my
answering machine received a five minute message
from an enthusiastic Mr. Tucker, full of praise
and constructive criticism for my script, and
an admonition that I needed to get it made as
soon as possible. – This is when my respect
for Guy Tucker really blossomed, I think. I did
end up making that movie (probably not as well
as I could have), and Guy quickly became one of
the few confidents I would allow to read my future
works of fiction – one of the few people
whose opinion really mattered to me.
Guy was a fan of movies, all movies, not just
the kind that involved people in rubber suits
knocking over buildings. His knowledge of things
outside the realm of tokusatsu was as extensive
as that subject itself. I spent an entire fourth
of July with him one summer in New York while
visiting my relatives, and the day's conversation
was filled more subjects than I'm prepared to
recall. His opinions on some things inside the
genre were, at times, unorthodox and, as far as
I was concerned, completely welcome. Here was
the first other 'fanboy' I'd met who not only
liked 'Godzilla Vs.The Smog Monster', but could
make a case for it more eloquent than any of that
film's detractors have ever managed to tear down.
In many ways, I felt a kindred spirit with Guy.
He had his enemies, as I had mine. There are negative
things that could be said about him, just as there
are about myself, but shouldn't - certainly not
at a time such as this. Hopefully even those he
rubbed the wrong way can admit the man's intelligence,
his gift for prose, his enthusiasm and candor.
I'm going to have leave my thoughts here, because
god knows words are plentiful and ultimately meaningless
- Mike Keller
"Though I didn't know Guy personally, I
did read his book. He is a fantastic author. Well,
he's in the Heavenly Chorus now with Mr. Honda
and Mr. Kurosawa. My best wishes to his family."
- Nick Clark
"It is very sad to hear that Guy Tucker
has passed away. I am glad that I was able to
meet him. I remember him walking right up to me
and telling me about Banno, with not much of an
introduction. He is one of those nice fans who
was really interested in the genre and those who
promoted it. I cannot remember how Guy knew that
I loved Hedorah, but he sought me out and I appreciated
his friendly demeanor. I feel most of that feeling
has dissipated from fandom."
- Edward Holland
"I first met Guy at G-CON '96. I had "Age
of the Gods" and I was already impressed
with his knowledge of Japanese cinema and his
style of conveying that knowledge. He explained
how Japanese society affected parts of the original
Over the years, as I read and re-read "Age
of the Gods," articles he had written in
G-Fan and Kaiju-Fan, his work influenced my understanding
of Japanese cinema, especially the studio system,
as I began visiting Japan and studying the genre.
As I began to write for G-Fan and Cult Movies
Magazine, I was always walking in his footsteps
and in his shadow.
Earlier this year, Guy abruptly started calling
me. We hit it off and, without really knowing
much about me, he began confiding in me, more
than I would expect someone to open up to a relative
stranger. Through many long, late-night conversations,
I discovered the details Guy's deep comprehension
of how creative individuals worked within the
changing structure of the Japanese studio system.
He conveyed his friendship with many great people
especially Akira Ifukube. Listening to Guy reminiscence
enhanced the insightful passages of “Age
of the Gods.” He filled in many gaps in
my understanding of Japanese cinema and answered
questions I had concerning a project I was working
I asked him when he thought he might be ready
to try to kick the nicotine habit. He said he'd
try to quit smoking after he finished and sold
his dream screenplay. He said his screenplay was
of young Ishiro Honda and young Akira Kurosawa,
one night at the beginning of their careers telling
each other about the movies they wanted to make
and describing the concepts of all their great
People who knew him better that I did tell me
that the deaths of his father and a close friend
troubled him and contributed to his problems that
cut short his writing career and probably his
After his friend Akira Ifukube passed away, Guy
called and read his memorial to me. It was in
first person; like a letter Guy wrote to the spirit
of Mr. Ifukube summing up what the master meant
to him. It turned out to be touching and easy
listening. The sad part was this; I think that
was the closest the piece would get to publication
or even appearing on a web site as Guy had no
Internet access at this point. He was reading
to me, someone he barely knew, what he wanted
to say to his old friend, now gone.
That was one of the last times I talked to Guy,
and it's still sad."
- Richard Pusateri
"Goodbye Brother Bear
Not many people can say they achieved their
lifetime goals and met their heroes, even worked
with them and befriended them. Guy Tucker was
one of those few exceptions. Despite all his losses
which contributed to his tragic disposition for
the last year of his life affecting his physical
and mental health and well being, my brother bear,
my tugger; was a gifted and prolific writer who
possessed the mind of a genius with the musical
taste to match. I met him through a network of
mutual friends for what seemed like a lifetime
ago. We would spend hours talking with each other,
sharing stories on life, our interests, our histories.
No different than having a real blood brother
always at my side. He had the uncanny ability
to engender true brotherhood and make you feel
warm and welcome within the first 5 minutes of
He taught me alot in life and will continue
to teach me in his passing. I was looking for
a mentor and I found a brother who served as a
mentor, to show what it meant to be a brother
and teach me true friendship in living by example:
loyalty, honesty and integrity.
There is an endless list of things we promised
each other we would do together. One of the things
was for me to travel with him to all the places
he had been in his life. He wanted me to document
his life and capture his experiences first hand
from him directly, so I will honor him and move
forward with that list. I wanted to tell him how
much he meant to me and what a wonderful gift
he gave by allowing me to be a part of his life.
I wanted to say thank you Guy for being who you
were, for being there and for the legacy you left
He was an incredibly deep, loving and compassionate
man who led an amazing life he lived with ferocious
passion and blissfully innocent fearlessness.
He accomplished in 30 years what many cannot accomplish
even in 3 lifetimes. A man to be commended on
what he brought to the world and all those he
touched and a man to be admired by his energy,
passion, sincere spirit and genuine heart of gold.
The world has lost a precious gem, but heaven
has gained a diamond in the rough. Loved having
you as my older brother dude, proud to be your
Thank You Guy, goodbye for now, I love You"
- Steve Crane
"My apologies to all on this board for such
a late reply. I¹ve been inundated with projects
in the last few months, and was as shocked as
any to hear of Guy¹s passing. I don¹t
write these kinds of things very well, and have
waited till now after a bit of mourning to find
my best words to remember him by.
It's no simple matter to describe Guy, or sum
up a friendship that lasted since the early 90's
when I first met him in Los Angeles. In a way,
I have nothing really new to add -- everyone's
comments are in keeping with my thoughts and feelings
about him. Guy Tucker was someone whose depth
and uniqueness were experienced by everyone in
different ways. Sometimes he could be really funny,
hilarious even. Other times he seemed tortured,
with an intensity difficult to put into words.
Yet he was not exactly what I would call moody,
at least in a conventional sense. Perhaps he could
not really handle his own innate genius or sensitivity.
I think many who met him simply considered him
an eccentric. True, he was eccentric, but much
more to those who knew him better. His knowledge
and dedication to film and music was staggering,
particularly Japanese films. He knew that world
inside and out. The depth of his thinking when
evaluating film was unique; many times he opened
my eyes to see certain films in a different light
that I'd already blown off. Just when you think
you've heard it all and figured it out, Guy would
throw in a different spin altogether and make
you reevaluate. I don't have to elaborate any
more than anyone else; reading his old reviews
or a copy of his AGE OF THE GODS would suffice.
It's really too bad none of his screenplays were
produced. They were very idiosyncratic and different,
yet very entertaining. In the last few years there
was a glimmer of hope for one of them to be made,
but it fell apart under circumstances I was never
Guy was a loyal friend. Most would know him by
his film knowledge, but we talked about everything.
He was always there for a good laugh and consolation,
even philosophizing. Here he was a searcher, and
there you would sense the pain. A kind of reaching
out for something just beyond his grasp, whatever
that would be, then withdrawing in pain. Pain
is the only word that seems appropriate.
The last few months of his life were difficult.
At one point, he expressed to me a very deep,
almost desperate yearning that God would physically
just come down and speak to him and comfort him.
This was no raving of a madman (I've known and
seen plenty of those in my life, and I knew Guy
too well). Rather, it was a sincere expression
of someone whose comfort zone within the physical
things of this world had reached its edge. I spoke
to him with regard to my own faith, and tried
to encourage him as best I could (living 3,000
miles away didn't help much).
In the end, losing a close friend at such an
early age has reminded me to appreciate who we
have while we still have them, never to take them
for granted, because you never really know when
they will be gone.
A very sad goodbye, Guy. May your soul rest in
peace. My sympathies to Guy's mother, if she's
- Bob Badway