Actor, comedian, singer, and guitarist, Ueki came to fame through the comic jazz-band The Crazy Cats led by Hajime Hana. His hit song, Sūdara-bushi, placed in the Oricon top ten and landed him an appearance on the NHK annual music spectacular Kōhaku Uta Gassen. Ueki received the Purple Ribbon Medal of Honour in 1993 and the 4th Class Order of the Rising Sun in 1999. Currently, new technology is being used to create a Vocaloid voicebank using his voice.
His film credits stretch from 1960 to 1995 and he won six awards for acting. His major appearances were in the Musekinin Otoko film series, the comedy variety show Shabondama Holiday, the prime-time television series The Hangman, and the ten 2-hour television shows in the Nagoya Yomeiri Monogatari franchise. He appeared in the Akira Kurosawa epic jidaigeki film Ran, and received a nomination for the Japan Academy Prize for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role. In 1978, he won that honor for his performance in Shukuji, directed by Tomio Kuriyama. _x000D_
On stage, he portrayed Billy Flynn in the musical Chicago. Additionally, Ueki voiced the Roddy McDowall role in Planet of the Apes and served as a narrator in the Japanese version of Tom and Jerry.