Tony-nominated actor Ken Watanabe battling stomach cancer

SHARE Tony-nominated actor Ken Watanabe battling stomach cancer

Updated Feb. 11, 2016

By Mark Kennedy | Associated Press

NEW YORK — Tony Award-nominated and Oscar-winning actor Ken Watanabe will return to his royal robes on Broadway in “The King and I” starting March 17 after he recovers from stomach cancer treatment.

Lincoln Center Theater said Thursday that the Tony- and Oscar-nominated actor will take over the role from Hoon Lee.Watanabe, the 56-year-old Japanese actor, made his American stage debut last year, earning a Tony nod opposite Kelli O’Hara in the revival of “The King and I.”

Ken Watanabe stars as General Kuribayashi in the World War II drama “Letters from Iwo Jima,” directed by Clint Eastwood. | COPYRIGHT WARNER BROS. and DREAMWORKS

Ken Watanabe stars as General Kuribayashi in the World War II drama “Letters from Iwo Jima,” directed by Clint Eastwood. | COPYRIGHT WARNER BROS. and DREAMWORKS

He was due to return to the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical March 1 but had to postpone after undergoing endoscopic surgery for stomach cancer in Japan. The actor wrote on his Twitter account that the early stage cancer was found in a medical checkup. He wrote in Japanese, “I hate to worry you, but please wait.”

Watanabe, who was featuredin Christopher Nolan’s “Batman Begins” and “Inception,” also starred in the reboot of “Godzilla” and “Letters From Iwo Jima” and lent his voice to the fourth installment of the Transformers franchise, “Transformers: Age of Extinction.”

He earned an Academy Award for best supporting actor in the Tom Cruise-led film “The Last Samurai.”

Word of the diagnosis was first reported by Kyodo News service.

Associated Press

Actor Ken Watanabe performs a number from “The King and I” at the 69th annual Tony Awards in New York in 2015. A publicist for Watanabe says the Tony Award- and Oscar-nominated actor has been forced to delay his return to Broadway’s “The King and I” while

Actor Ken Watanabe performs a number from “The King and I” at the 69th annual Tony Awards in New York in 2015. A publicist for Watanabe says the Tony Award- and Oscar-nominated actor has been forced to delay his return to Broadway’s “The King and I” while he battles stomach cancer. |Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File

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