Joshua Shintani passed away from the advanced stages of pneumonia at the age of 32, according to TMZ, Nov. 30, 2015. He is best remembered for his role in the 2001 movie “Shallow Hal” when he appeared with Jack Black and played the song “Never Forget Where I’m From.” on his ukulele.
Joshua’s mother, Sandy Shintani, told TMZ that she took him to the emergency room in Kauai early last week. The doctor’s discovered that Joshua had an advanced case of pneumonia and they allegedly could not help him recover. Joshua, who also went by the name Li’iBoy, passed away on Wednesday.
Joshua was from Waimea, Hawaii and that’s where he went to high school. In an interview with The Garden Island, Joshua explained how he got the part in the movie. In March 2001, when he was a senior at Waimea High School, he stood outside the public library, with a Ukulele in his hand, as he waited for a ride. Peter Farrelly, who was on vacation at the time, drove past him and then abruptly turned around so he could talk to the young man holding a ukulele. Peter signed him up on the spot for a part in his upcoming movie “Shallow Hal.”
Joshua said he went home to tell his parents, brother, and four sisters what happened, but they didn’t believe him. It wasn’t until Peter called with an offer and the chance to come to Santa Monica the next day for a screen test that they knew he told the truth. Joshua accepted the offer, so he and his uncle made the trip to Hollywood. Joshua said he played “Never Will Forget Where I’m From” and said a couple of lines.
Joshua and his family wanted to keep the news of his Hollywood trip quiet, but in a small town, news travels fast and everyone wished him luck. Shortly after that, Peter sent a letter to Joshua’s high school asking them to release him from classes for one week in April. Joshua was on the set for two days, and he described his experience as, “You don’t work hard, you just wait hard.”
Joshua had two more trips to the mainland, and on November 9 when the premiere of “Shallow Hal” was being shown in Los Angeles at the Mann Theatre in Westwood, Joshua got to walk the red carpet. It was an exciting time for the young man fresh out of high school. When Joshua returned home, he was thrilled to see his name on the marquee at the Waimea Theater when the town celebrated his role on ”Shallow Hal.”
Joshua went to the Kaua’i Community College to take courses in the liberal arts programs. He thought about making a career out of acting, but apparently he never made it past the dreaming stage. He never made it back to appear on the big screen and not much news can be found on what he did after college.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Joshua Shintani’s family and friends as they mourn his passing.