Remembering Rodney

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Whether in sweltering heat or pouring rain, regardless of his health or infirmities, Rodney Kageyama seemed ever-present at Obon festivals. (MIKEY HIRANO CULROSS/Rafu Shimpo)

The sudden passing of Rodney Kageyama has stunned the local community, and tributes continue to be shared in person and on social media.

A service and celebration of life potluck – Kageyama was known to love the occasional potluck party – will be held Saturday, Jan. 12, at Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple in Little Tokyo.

The event begins at 5 p.m. at the temple, located at 815 E. First St., at the corner of Vignes in Los Angeles.

Attendees are requested to dress in casual attire – the official release calls for casual, fun, aloha wear, sequins, feathers, rainbows – and of course, leopard prints, babe.

Any questions or offers to volunteer should be directed to Emily Kuroda, (213) 509-2707 or by email at [email protected]

In fine form with Tamlyn Tomita and Helen Ota during the 2014 Nisei Week Fashion Show. (MARIO G. REYES/Rafu Shimpo)

Some of the messages collected by The Rafu include thoughts and memories of friends, fellow actors and familiar faces from around the community:

“You gave so much of yourself to everything you were involved with and we were very, very lucky to have you. Thank you for sharing your talent, friendship, heart, and wisdom with us while you were here, Rodney. I will miss you more than words can say.” — Helen Ota

“Rodney could light up a room like few others. His energy was contagious. One of my favorite memories is from the set of ‘Gung Ho.’ It’s one of the highlights of the film when Rodney breaks into spontaneous dance during the assembly line scene.” —  Sab Shimono

“An entertaining conversationalist with wit, intelligence, and an infectious vulgarity. He was a beautiful and complex human being and, yes, a pain in the ass (at times). The only speed he knew was relentless. There was no coasting through life. — Tim Lounibos

“I always tell aspiring actors and artists never to take auditions seriously. It is all about what the producers want, not what you do. If they like you, they will help you learn what what they want you to do. Being American-born, Rodney’s Japanese was rather shaky. But he always got the part … He was that likeable and personable.” —  Arthur Nakane

“You always did know how to entertain, make people laugh, and have a good time. Last thing you said to me was you valued our friendship. It meant a lot to me and one I will never forget.” — Bryce Umemoto

“He was a bawdy, naughty, rowdy breath of fresh air, all served with undeniable sweetness and the best of intentions.” — Tamlyn Tomita

“Thank you, Rodney, for your loving spirit that touch so many lives. RIP my friend.” — Cory Shiozaki

“Rodney’s message was love. I hold onto that hard.” — Naomi Hirahara

“Going to miss this wonderful, big-hearted gentleman … so sad.” — Wayne Kitagawa

“You’re leaving us in style, as you always did – unapologetically, blowing up Facebook with all the comments and farewells of all those who loved you.” —  Tori Nishinaka Leon

“Rodney graced us and shared with us his love for his friends and his community. Our lives are certainly richer for having known him.” — Jusak Bernhard

“I was working out of town and my mother stayed in my apartment next door to Rodney and Kenny. They hit it off immediately. She loved cooking for them and came to think of them as her gay kids. Her only question was ‘Who’s the boy?’ For them, she was ‘mom.’ Rodney made my mom feel needed and loved and made her laugh. I’m forever grateful.” — Amy Hill

“He of course cracked me up with his hilarious stories. But he also broke my heart with his honest stories of being gay at a time when it made him the victim of unprovoked violence and derision. Yet Rodney emerged stronger and more determined to rise above it all and be a force for good and good times in the JA community.” — Ken Fong

“I can’t begin to thank you for opening so many doors for me. As an actor long ago and for giving me your ACT [American Conservatory Theater] job when you moved to L.A. that started me on the path that led me to where I am now. I’m sure there’s a special place for you on the other side.” — Emilya Cachapero

“I had never seen someone more at peace the moment of their baptism then Rodney was. It was a very powerful moment for me. True, I also had the corner of my eye on the exits just in case lightning struck, but that moment will be a vivid memory of mine forever.” — Mark Nishinaka

“We always kidded each other over the way we ended our phone conversations. Now, I turn the tables and say to you, ‘Love ya. Catch ya later, babe.’” — Mikey Hirano Culross

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