Mario Segale, the man who inspired Nintendo’s flagship character, has died. He was 84. Born in 1934, Segale rented space to Nintendo US when the company was developing Donkey Kong. Originally, the plumber we all know as Mario was called “Jumpman.” That changed when Segale stormed into Nintendo’s offices demanding back rent, according to NPR. A short but spunky Italian-American, Segale and his suspenders (not overalls) left an impact.
Friends and family in his hometown of Auburn, Washington, remember Segale for his kindness. “He never wanted to have the spotlight, and I always understood that. He was always extremely kind to so many people,” said former Auburn Mayor Pete Lewis. “When [my wife] got sick, he would take her flowers. It was always very evident that he truly cared.”