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Real-life inspiration behind Nintendo’s 'Mario' dead at 84

04 November, 2018, 05:46 | Author: Rafael Roberts
  • Super Mario

Shigeru Miyamoto had created the Mario character for his game Donkey Kong, but was calling him Jumpman and his girlfriend "Lady". Mario Segale was an Italian American property developer who became the inspiration behind Nintendo's beloved plumber.

American media have reported that Japanese game maker Nintendo rented a warehouse from Segale when it launched its USA division in the early 1980s.

Seagle was intensively private about being the inspiration behind the character over fears it could damage the reputation of his businesses. "You might say I'm still waiting for my royalty cheques", he said. During development, Mario, who has since gone on to become the face of the world's most successful videogame franchise, went by an entirely different moniker.

Another friend of Segale's commented on that story: "My direct understanding and perception is that Mario Segale doesn't mind at all the fact that his name inspired such an iconic character, and that he shows humble pride in that fact in front of his grandchildren and close-knit adult circles". The Mario titles have sold more than 300 million copies.

According to a report on Kotaku, Segale died on October 27 surrounded by family at his home in Washington.


His obituary in The Seattle Times notes that he always ducked the notoriety associated with Nintendo's mascot because he wanted to be known instead for what he accomplished in life.

Segale kept a very low profile, only rarely speaking to the media.

As the only son of first generation Italian immigrant farmers, Louis and Rina Segale, the husband and father-of-four was an innovator in the construction industry. He started his own construction company soon after graduating high school in 1952.

This story originally appeared in The Sun.

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