Jump for joy, Nintendo fans — the “Super Mario Bros. Movie” was a smash hit at the box office, and we have to take local, pixelated pride in that. After all, the title character has roots in the Seattle area.
In the early 80s, Nintendo’s US branch operated out of a warehouse in Tukwila. When the designers for “Donkey Kong” were working on their game, they had a landlord by the name of… Mario Segale. Boing.
The real-life Mario was a construction contractor, so the tool belt tracks, and he also reportedly wore suspenders like his mustachioed alter ego.
Mario had a successful contracting and real estate business in the area, and died at the age of 84 in 2018.
He and his family shied away from the spotlight, even when the Nintendo franchise took off. Mario’s rare public quotes included a remark that he was “still waiting for my royalty checks.”