The ‘real Super Mario’ has died at the age of 84 in Tukwila, Washington, surrounded by his family.
Mario Arnold Segale was a first generation Italian-American property developer, as well as the inspiration behind the name of the iconic computer game.
Super Mario was originally going to be called Jumpman, however Nintendo of America decided to name the game after Mario after he leased a warehouse to them in the 1980s.
Minoru Arakawa – who established Nintendo of America – was reportedly the person who informed Mario about how his name had been used.
As reported in his obituary, Mario ‘always ducked the notoriety and wanted to be known instead for what he accomplished in his life’.
Indeed, for a long time Mario actively avoided discussing his connection with the beloved Nintendo character, fearing it would damage his business reputation.
It’s thought the only time he publicly referred to everyone’s favourite Italian plumber was back in 1993, during an interview with the Seattle Times.
When asked about what he thought of Super Mario’s incredible success, Mario simply quipped:
You might say I’m still waiting for my royalty checks.
During his successful real estate business career, Mario became well-respected for having brought innovations to the industry.
After graduating from Highline High School in 1952, he launched his own construction company with just one dump truck.
In 1998, he was able to sell his construction services company to the tune of $60 million.
Detailing his generous, creative and determined personality, the obituary reads:
Mario had a gift for chewing you out while making you want to work harder.
He was known for his ability to lead with his own iconic style and having the vision to always know exactly where he was headed next.
When he wasn’t working hard, Mario enjoyed Italian food, cigars, fishing and ‘a good joke’.
He unintentionally helped create a legend. RIP
— CSnakeSchulz (@CSnakeSchulz) November 1, 2018
my condolences. Without him, Mario would have continued on with his fucking awful original name from Donkey Kong, "Jumpman." Thank him for unintentionally inspiring a legend.
— Connor (@SuperConnor64) November 1, 2018
Although Mario may have kept quiet about his adventurous namesake, anyone who’s ever found themselves whiling away an afternoon in the magical Mushroom Kingdom will feel grateful to Mario for influencing the most recognisable gaming character of all time.
One fan tweeted:
Thank you for everything. You, even though unintentionally, helped create a video game legend. Without you, it wouldn’t be the same today.
My condolences. Without him, Mario would have continued on with his f*cking awful original name from Donkey Kong, ‘Jumpman’. Thank him for unintentionally inspiring a legend. [sic]
Super Mario Odyssey (2017), the newest game of the Super Mario franchise is currently the highest-selling game on the Nintendo Switch platform, with over 12 million units having been bought by gamers worldwide.
More than a name. Your spirit lives on through the icon you've inspired. Thank you.
— P. C. Clotter (@PCClotter) November 1, 2018
I heard the stories he was the landlord once for Nintendo of America. Will always be remembered as the inspiration on the name of the icon. RIP
— [ReDaCted] V2 👾👾 (@RyanDCarballo) November 1, 2018
Mario leaves behind Donna, his wife of 62 years, their four children, Lisa, Mark, Tina and Nita, and nine grandchildren.
Our thoughts are with the family of Mario Segale at this difficult time.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.