Friday, November 25, 2005

Wax Off

Sad news: Noriyuki "Pat" Morita, best known for his work as "Mr. Miyagi" in The Karate Kid has died at the age of 73. According to CNN:
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"...

Born in northern California on June 28, 1932, the son of migrant fruit pickers, Morita spent most of his early years in the hospital with spinal tuberculosis. He later recovered only to be sent to a Japanese-American internment camp in Arizona during World War II.

"One day I was an invalid," he recalled in a 1989 AP interview. "The next day I was public enemy No. 1 being escorted to an internment camp by an FBI agent wearing a piece"...

For years, Morita played small and sometimes demeaning roles in such films 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 brief series, "Mr. T and Tina."

I have always had a soft spot for Pat Morita, ever since he won my heart as that scamp "Arnold" on "Happy Days." And who couldn't love "Mr. Miyagi," I ask?

He had such a charming, intelligent persona. I didn't know he'd been in an interment camp. Sigh...

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