Takakura graduated from Meiji University's Faculty of Commerce and became a student in the 2nd batch New Face class of Toei in 1955. He was known for his many signature works including the "Abashiri Bangaichi" series, the "Nihon Kyokaku-den" series, "Nankyoku Monogatari", "Shiawase no Kiiro Hankachi" and "Poppoya". His last movie was the 2012 film "Anata e".
Takakura was awarded the Purple Ribbon Medal in 1998, the Cultural Merit Prize in 2006 and the Order of Cultural Merit in 2013. He had also won the Best Leading Actor award 4 times in the Japan Academy Awards since 1978.
Takakura was previously married to the late singer Eri Chiemi but they divorced in 1971.