Super Mario's namesake, Mario Segale, has passed away

Mario Segale inspiration for Nintendo’s Super Mario dies aged 84

AFP Timothy A. Clary

The Italian-American property developer from Washington leased a warehouse to Nintendo of America in the 1970s and they made a decision to name the main character of their new video after him.

Mario Seagle was an Italian-American property developer from the U.S. state of Washington. Segale was Nintendo's landlord outside Seattle when the company created Donkey Kong, the classic game that launched the overalls-wearing Mario. Nintendo eventually decided that it wanted to give its character a proper title, opting for the name of the man who had helped its new division to make its mark on the world. The confrontation apparently led to Nintendo naming the character Mario after him.

However, according to his family, Segale was never looking to cash in on that.

Like this story? Share it with a friend! He loved hunting, fishing, his airplane, and the Puget Sound. In 1993, the Seattle Times asked Segale was asked how he felt about his video game incarnation.

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The Mario character went on to become a franchise, appearing in dozens of games, from vehicle racing to tennis.

Mario Segale is survived by his wife, Donna, their four children, and nine grandchildren.

Segale kept a very low profile, only rarely speaking to the media.

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". The son of first-generation Italian immigrant farmers, he was the founder of M.A. Segale, a heavy construction general contractor in the northwestern US. He started his own construction company soon after graduating high school in 1952.

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