Sab Shimono

Name Sab Shimono
Born July 31 1937
Birth Location Sacramento, California
Generational Identifier


Actor and voice performer with dozens of television and film credits. Sab Shimono was born on July 31, 1937, in Sacramento, California, to restaurant owners Masauchi Shimono and Edith Mary Otani Shimono. He has a twin brother, Jiro Shimono. During World War II, Shimono and his family were incarcerated at the Sacramento Assembly Center , then Tule Lake and Amache .

He attended Sacramento High School where he was elected student body president, and graduated from University of California, Berkeley, where he studied acting under Henrietta Harris. Subsequently, he moved to New York City to study acting for two years with Stella Adler and to be privately coached in vocal technique by Steve Ross. One of his first professional theater roles was a summer stock production of Flower Drum Song , while his first Broadway role was as Ito in the 1966 production of Mame , directed by Gene Saks and starring Angela Lansbury. He was also in the original Broadway cast of Pacific Overtures in 1976.

He has appeared in dozens of films including Midway (1976), Gung Ho (1986), Presumed Innocent (1990), Hot Summer Winds (1991), Suture (1993), The Shadow (1994), Waterworld (1995), Paradise Road (1997), The Big Hit (1998), and Southland Tales (2006). He guest starred in many television shows, including 2 ½ Men , Friends , Seinfeld , M.A.S.H. , Mad Men , and Hawaii Five-0 . He voiced the role of Uncle for five seasons on Fox’s Jackie Chan Adventures , and was the voice of Chow Lo in Disney's Mulan .

Shimono has appeared in several plays or movies that reference the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans, including Alan Parker's Come See the Paradise (1990), Michael Uno's movie version of the Philip Kan Gotanda play The Wash (1988), and independent shorts Day of Independence (2003) and Half Kenneth (2009). Shimono also starred in a short film that was projected into a barracks re-creation in the landmark exhibition A More Perfect Union at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History, which ran from 1987 to 2001. Among the incarceration themed plays he has appeared in are a 1975 production of Allan Knee's Santa Anita '42 at the Chelsea Theatre, a 1982 East West Players production of Edward Sakamoto's Pilgrimage , a 2002 East West Players production of Gotanda's Sisters Matsumoto and a 2007 production of Ken Narasaki's Innocent When You Dream .

In addition to the two mentioned, Shimono has appeared in productions of many of Gotanda's other plays including Avocado Kid and "Fish Head Soup at East West Players in Los Angeles, the world premieres of The Wind Cries Mary at the San Jose Repertory Theater and After the War at the American Conservatory Theater, and multiple productions of Yankee Dawg You Die , The Ballad of Yachio , and The Wash .

Among his many awards are 1990 and 1991 New York Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actor nominations for his role in The Wash and Drama-Logue Awards in 1989 and 1990 and LA Weekly Theatre Awards in 1979 and 1990.

He lives and works with his husband, Steve Alden Nelson, in Los Angeles, California.

Authored by Patricia Wakida

For More Information

Official website: .

Alden, Steve. "Sab and Steve." API Equality-LA Blog, Mar. 31, 2011.

Ballard, Gary. "Sab Shimono Adds Wrinkles to a Prolific Resume." LA Stage Times , February 14, 2011.

Muraoka, Alan. "Opening a New Window." American Theatre , Oct. 2006, 138–40.

Last updated Jan. 16, 2024, 1:26 a.m..