"Sad news the weekend for fans of Nikkatsu action films of the 1960s," writes Chris MaGee at J-Film Pow-Wow. "Actor Hideaki Nitani, best known for his supporting roles in such films as Underworld Beauty and Tokyo Drifter, died of pneumonia on Saturday, January 7th at a Tokyo hospital. He was 81…. In 1954 Nikkatsu had finally begun to produce films again after having temporarily shuttering itself during the post-war US Occupation. Joining Nitani during this hiring blitz were stars like Akira Kobayashi, Yujiro Ishihara and Jo Shishido. Nitani made his screen debut in 1956 in Takumi Furukawa's The People of Okinawa. This would begin a string of roles, mostly as tough guys and gangsters, in the films of Seijun Suzuki, Yuzo Kawashima, Ko Nakahira, and Koreyoshi Kurahara, amongst others."
From the Mainichi Daily News: "Nitani shifted his focus of activity to TV roles during the 1970s, most notably as a cool-mannered senior investigating officer in police drama series Tokuso Saizensen, which roughly translates as 'frontline investigators.' The series ran for a decade until the late 1980s."