[R.I.P.] Pat Morita - (11/25/05) Karate Kid's "Mr. Miyagi"
- Pat Morita, 'Karate Kid's' Mr. Miyagi, dies
LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- Actor Pat Morita, whose portrayal of
the wise and dry-witted Mr. Miyagi in "The Karate Kid" earned him an
Oscar nomination, has died. He was 73.
Morita died Thursday at his home in Las Vegas of natural causes,
said his wife of 12 years, Evelyn. She said in a statement that her
husband, who first rose to fame with a role on "Happy Days,"
had "dedicated his entire life to acting and comedy."
In 1984, he appeared in the role that would define his career and
spawn countless affectionate imitations. As Kesuke Miyagi, the
mentor to Ralph Macchio's "Daniel-san," he taught karate while
trying to catch flies with chopsticks and offering such advice
as "wax on, wax off" to guide Daniel through chores to improve his
Morita said in a 1986 interview with The Associated Press he was
billed as Noriyuki "Pat" Morita in the film because producer Jerry
Weintraub wanted him to sound more ethnic. He said he used the
billing because it was "the only name my parents gave me."
He lost the 1984 best supporting actor award to Haing S. Ngor, who
appeared in "The Killing Fields." (Watch a profile of Morita -- 2:10)