The man who inspired the iconic Nintendo character Super Mario has died aged 84.
Mario Seagle was an Italian-American property developer from the US state of Washington.
He leased a warehouse to Nintendo of America in the 1980s and the company decided to name the star of their video game after him.
One story suggests he stormed into Nintendo’s offices one day demanding a late rent payment and he was added to the Donkey Kong game as a way to appease him.
Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo’s famed game designer, had wanted proper names for the character and at the time was calling him Jumpman.
Seagle was intensively private about being the inspiration behind the character over fears it could damage the reputation of his businesses.
In 1993 he was quoted joking he was “still waiting for my royalty cheques”.
The Super Mario character has become one of the most recognized characters in the world and it went on to become a franchise.
Gaming historian Benj Edwards noted in 2010 that someone close to Seagle said he wasn’t very tall and wore suspenders instead of overalls.
Another friend said about 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.”
Super Mario Odyssey is the plumber’s latest adventure and is currently the best-selling game on the new Nintendo Switch console.
It has sold more than 12million copies.
The 84-year-old died surrounded by friends and family on October 27. He leaves behind his wife Donna, four children and nine grandchildren.
Seagle always kept a low profile according to his obituary and that he wanted to be remembered for achievements.
It reads: “While he was the inspiration for the name of Nintendo’s ‘Super Mario’ from when they were tenants in his business park in the 1970’s, he always ducked the notoriety and wanted to be known instead for what he accomplished in his life.”
He was born in Seattle to first-generation Italian immigrant farmers Louis and Rina.
Seagle started his own construction company, Seagle Properties, with just one dump truck.
He sold his company in 1998 for £46.21million ($60million).
This story originally appeared in The Sun.
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