'Real Super Mario' who reluctantly inspired franchise dies

Mario Segale, the man who Super Mario was named after, has died aged 84.

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

Originally, Super Mario was called Jumpman until Nintendo decided the character should have a proper name.

The company is said to have used Mario as a nickname for their landlord.

Mr Segale shunned all publicity and involvement with Nintendo fearing that any association with Mario could damage the reputation of his business.

The only time he is understood to have spoken about the character is in an interview in 1993 in the Seattle Times.

Asked what he thought about the character being named after him, he would only say: “You might say I’m still waiting for my royalty cheques.”

His obituary described how he wished to be remembered for his own achievements in life rather than for Nintendo naming one of its most famous characters after him.

It says: “While he was the inspiration for the name of Nintendo’s “Super Mario” from when they were tenants in his business park in the 1970s, he always ducked the notoriety and wanted to be known instead for what he accomplished in his life.

“Indeed, for generations of his family to come, and for the people who had a chance to know him well, his impact will remain ever present.”

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The Mario video game has been said to be the most successful video games franchise ever and the latest adventure, Super Mario Odyssey, is currently the best-selling game on the new Nintendo console, selling more than 12 million copies.

Mr Segale leaves behind his wife Donna, four children and nine grandchildren.

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