Sad news for all Karate Kid fans: Pat Morita has died at the age of 73. Morita will forever be known as Mr Miyagi in the Karate Kid series, most memorably the original 1984 tale of a young man (Ralph Macchio) who learns the value of believing in himself (and a decent crane kick), which earned Morita his one and only Oscar nomination.
But the California-born actor enjoyed a far wider career than that. He’d plugged away for years, playing frankly demeaning, stereotypical roles in films such as Thoroughly Modern Millie and TV series such as The Odd Couple and Green Acres. His first breakthrough came with Happy Days, and he followed with his own spin-off, Mr T And Tina.
He can also be seen in a variety of small roles in films including Gus Van Sant’s Even Cowgirls Get The Blues and Honeymoon In Vegas, and heard as the voice of the Emperor of China in the 1998 Disney pic Mulan.