He has appeared in films from 1963 onwards during the 60s. He was under contract to Toei's theatrical section and appeared in many plays for them. In 1973 he scored a great hit with his line, "Hey, whatcha name?", on TBS' "Ginza Night Night" and this became a catchphrase. His small frame and small round eyes have great appeal and have added to his comical acting. Since then he has been active in TV, films, stage and advertising. He has even handled serious roles and broadened his acting skills. He has appeared in many more films between 1968 and 1980. On TV he played a Japanese Columbo-style detective in a raincoat opposite Shigeru Amachi in NET's "Hijo No Licence", as well as appearing in other TV series. He even has a record, "Tonpei No Hey You Blues". In 1979 he set up a three person company with Fumio Watanabe and Katsuko Kanai. It gave its first performance at the Kiinokuniya.
In 1962 he was married.
Tonpei Hidari is alive and well and very much still in show biz. In fact he was in a celebrity golf tournament/ on TV in May 2003! He is regularly on TV.
As well as being on TV he released a single in 1973 called "Tonpei no Hey you Blues" or translated: "Tonpei's Hey you blues". He released a later album called "What are humans".
He also released a single 27 years later called "Ningen te nandaro" or translated: "What are humans?".
These days he spends most of his time doing talk shows, but has featured in comedies such as "Oedo degozaru" or translated "Tokyo". Oedo is the old name for Tokyo and degozaru is an old word for representing existance, which has been shortened to desu. There was also a murder mystery that he was in as well.
If you have any information about Tonpei Hidari, e.g. films / TV shows he's starred in, what he's doing now, photos of him, web pages mentioning him, please let me know using the Monkey Feedback page, and I'll put the information here.