Mario Segale

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Mario Segale
Mario Segale
Born April 30, 1934
Died October 27, 2018 (aged 84)
Super Mario–related role(s) Real-estate developer, namesake for Mario
“So what does Segale think of his name being used for a game that has sold more than 100 million copies and made Nintendo one of the world’s most profitable companies, not to mention the Super Mario Bros. movie just released?
"You might say I’m still waiting for my royalty checks," [Segale] quips.”
The Seattle Times[1]

Mario Arnold Segale was an American real-estate developer of retail malls and office buildings and landlord based in Seattle, Washington. Born to Italian immigrants, he was the owner of the M.A. Segale construction company and was responsible for projects in the southern King County. Segale was known for being the namesake of Mario. According to a widely shared story originating from David Sheff's Game Over, during a meeting at Nintendo's Tukwila, Washington warehouse, an exasperated Segale berated Minoru Arakawa for overdue rent, and Arakawa decided to rename Jumpman (which the Mario character was initially called) to his current name due to his physical similarities. Sheff misspelled Segale's last name as "Segali," which was thought to be the correct spelling for years. This story was debunked by warehouse manager Don James, who stated that he and Arakawa named him after Segale because he was so reclusive that they did not know what he looked like.[2][3]

Despite the notoriety, Segale was known to be proud of the association and happily shared his amusing anecdote with his grandchildren and his close friends.[4] There is little information known about him, however, as he kept a low profile throughout his life, and few photographs of him exist. He was a duck hunting hobbyist,[4] and his favorite color was red.[5]

Segale passed away in his home in Tukwila on October 27, 2018, at age 84. According to his obituary,[5] he wanted to be known for his life accomplishments, and according to his acquaintances, he was said to be reluctant to be associated with the Mario character due to the risk of it interfering with his brand.[4]


  1. ^ The Seattle Times. (June 17, 1993). "Waiting On Royalty". Accessed March 20, 2023.
  2. ^ Game|Life Podcast Wired. (February 17, 2012). Retrieved April 21, 2023. Interview with Don James starts at 51:16.
  3. ^ Nintendo Treehouse Live - E3 2018 - Arcade Archives Donkey Kong, Sky Skipper YouTube. (June 15, 2018). Retrieved April 21, 2023.
  4. ^ a b c Comment by "Aquaintance of Mario S." (July 1, 2014). From "The True Face of Mario". Technologizer. Accessed March 20, 2023. Cited by Chappell, B. (November 2, 2018). "Mario Segale, Inspiration For Nintendo's Hero Plumber, Has Died". NPR.
  5. ^ a b "Mario Segale Obituary". Legacy. Accessed March 20, 2023.