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

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