Setsuko Hara, 95, a Japanese actress who achieved international stardom and critical acclaim after World War II through her collaborations with directors such as Akira Kurosawa and Yasujiro Ozu, only to vanish, Garbo-like, from public life more than half a century ago, died Sept. 5. She had pneumonia, according to Japanese media.
The months-long delay in reporting her death reflected the anonymity that the actress had obsessively cultivated after starring in more than 75 movies, including such esteemed works as Ozu's Tokyo Story (1953). Film reviewer Roger Ebert called that bittersweet drama of generational conflict "one of the greatest films of all time."
Ms. Hara was widely admired for her ability to convey the interior life of seemingly ordinary characters. Blending allure and minimalist restraint, she possessed an unshowy intelligence that Ozu said set her apart from many performers of her generation.
She continued to make films with Ozu. Around the time of his death in 1963, Ms. Hara announced her retirement. It was an abrupt and shocking move for an actress still in her career prime, and she offered little explanation beyond saying she had never much enjoyed making films.
She never married or had children. She leaves only a lasting mystique among aficionados. - Washington Post