While the character we all know and love will likely live on forever, his namesake has passed away at age 84.
As the story goes, the protagonist of Nintendo’s Donkey Kong originally went by Jumpman, but that was not good enough. So Minoru Arakawa, the founder and first president of Nintendo of America sought out a name for the man known for jumping over barrels and swinging a hammer. Mr. Mario Segale, a property owner and first-generation American born to Italian immigrants, was the landlord for Nintendo’s first building in America. According to Arakawa, their landlord had the perfect name for our hero, and was thus named after Mr. Segale.
According to his obituary, Mr. Segale passed on October 27, 2018. He was an accomplished businessman with a great legacy. “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.” His obituary even mentions that he loved the color red, which fits perfectly with his video game counterpart, who also seems to favor red. Mr. Segale is survived by many family and friends, including his wife, children, and grandchildren.
While most of us never had the opportunity to meet Mr. Mario Segale, most of us have fond memories of Super Mario games. In fact, many people are gamers largely due to the impact of this beloved character. So the next time you boot up Super Mario Odyssey, Super Mario Bros., or another of Mario’s many adventures, take a moment to think about the humble businessman and landlord behind the name.
If you would like to do more to honor Mr. Segale, here is further information on the online guestbook and suggested organizations for a donation:
“Written remembrances can be shared on the online guestbook at marlattfuneralhome.com. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to Catholic Community Services of King County at https://www.ccsww.org, Fred Hutch Cancer Research at https://www.fredhutch.org/donate, or a local charity of your choice.”
In honor of Mr. Segale, feel free to share your first memory of Super Mario in our comment section.
Steve is the Senior Editor of NintendoFuse and co-host of the NintendoFuse Podcast. He’s been a Nintendo gamer since age 6 and has been on staff with NintendoFuse since 2008.