Sayonara, Miyagi-San

by | November 26, 2005 | Comments

For over two decades he endeared himself to young moviegoers as the sage, kind mentor Mr. Miyagi; now, generations of fans must say ‘Sayonara’ to actor Pat Morita.

The beloved Japanese-American actor passed away from natural causes Thanksgiving Day in a Las Vegas hospital. At the time of his death, Morita had over 100 screen credits under his belt including "Thoroughly Modern Millie" (his film debut), TV’s "Ohara" (created, written by, and starring Morita), and of course, "The Karate Kid" series.

Widely known for his signature role in "Karate Kid" as Daniel-San’s soft-spoken, Japanese-accented martial arts teacher, Morita was actually born Noriyuki Morita in California, and was sent to live in an internment camp during World War II as a child. He entered show business as a stand-up comedian in the 1960s — self-stylized as the "Hip Nip" — and graduated to small roles in movies like "Millie," "The Shakiest Gun In The West," and "Cancel My Reservation." Morita’s bigger break came with a role on "Happy Days" as restaurant owner Arnold, followed by a run of television roles before his career-defining turn opposite Ralph Macchio in 1984’s "The Karate Kid."

Morita received an Academy Award nomination for his Mr. Miyagi role, becoming the first Asian-American to receive that honor. He went on to reprise the role in each of the three "Karate Kid" sequels, including the fourth installation, "The Next Karate Kid," starring a young Hilary Swank. Of late, Morita lent his voice to the animated films, "Mulan" and "Mulan II."

Tag Cloud

Masterpiece President Podcast Emmys Photos politics sitcom E3 Drama Rock Sneak Peek Fall TV Spring TV Best and Worst Cosplay harry potter crime thriller Marvel Rocky YA MSNBC Sci-Fi police drama Esquire TV Musicals aliens cops Adult Swim cinemax MTV period drama Sundance Mindy Kaling El Rey Kids & Family biography Comedy NBC crime drama 007 psycho Watching Series boxoffice Animation TruTV Superheroes Tomatazos Showtime Musical Calendar 2016 IFC Food Network Logo GLAAD TCM Winter TV NYCC dramedy Music PBS Nat Geo OWN Fantasy HBO war Thanksgiving Mary Tyler Moore Lionsgate Countdown Box Office TV Land Mystery Year in Review Opinion CBS cooking History Tumblr ITV adventure vampires 24 frames Trailer CBS All Access SundanceTV TLC A&E TCA 2017 Oscars TBS Starz Cartoon Network WGN FXX supernatural TCA RT History ABC Family X-Men Toys Infographic FOX Trivia historical drama Syfy Polls and Games LGBTQ Nickelodeon TNT BET GIFs Dark Horse Comics Summer Star Wars Awards comiccon Video Games DirecTV Netflix Comedy Central Amazon Crackle Premiere Dates serial killer Disney science fiction diversity travel TIFF zombie Nominations Bravo singing competition BBC America CMT E! VH1 2017 Certified Fresh Interview Character Guide discovery Lifetime 2015 Ellie Kemper Universal Writers Guild of America technology Grammys Valentine's Day Star Trek DC Comics VICE Teen Rom-Com Holidays docudrama First Look ABC composers Winners The Arrangement based on movie Hulu crime Pirates SDCC Action Country Reality Ghostbusters USA Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Extras Reality Competition social media Super Bowl PaleyFest AMC Fox News GoT American Society of Cinematographers thriller Martial Arts The CW FX Comic Book ESPN Pop Marathons Freeform political drama Schedule transformers CNN Horror Biopics Red Carpet Election Disney Channel BBC sports APB Set visit