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|Also Known As:||Noriyuki Morita,Noriyuki Morita (Pat)||Died:||November 24, 2005|
|Born:||June 28, 1930||Cause of Death:||Natural causes|
|Birth Place:||Isleton, California, USA||Profession:||Cast ... actor comic department head at an aerospace firm data processor|
Best remembered for his portrayal of martial arts sage Mr. Miyagi in the enduring "Karate Kid" films, actor and comedian Pat Morita persevered through a childhood filled with adversity to ultimately realize his dream of becoming a successful performer. At the age of 30, Morita began to pursue stand-up comedy in earnest, and within a short number of years was performing his act at clubs around the country and on various television variety shows. He made his film debut in the musical comedy "Thoroughly Modern Millie" (1967), and later appeared on dozens of television shows, such as "Sanford & Son" (NBC, 1971-77). Morita's big break came when professional acquaintance Garry Marshall cast him in the role of malt shop owner Matsuo "Arnold" Takahashi on the long-running sitcom "Happy Days" (ABC, 1973-1984). The role of Arnold was a supporting one, but Morita stole nearly every scene he appeared in, and was soon lured away to star in his own sitcom after just one season on the popular show. It proved to be a bad decision, as the comedy series, "Mr. T and Tina" (ABC, 1976-77) was shelved after only a handful of episodes. Morita continued to work, but it was looking as if he had let a good thing get away when he landed the role of a lifetime as Mr. Miyagi in the hit film "The Karate Kid" (1984). As the patient sensei to a bullied teen (Ralph Macchio), Morita was instrumental in launching a hugely successful film franchise, and in doing so would earn himself an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor and secure a place for himself in the pantheon of screen icons. Although his post-Miyagi roles never approached the notoriety he experienced with "The Karate Kid," Morita continued to work steadily in film and on television for the remainder of his life, bringing a welcome sense of familiarity and fun to each and every role.
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