Pat Morita

Biography

Date of Birth 28 June 1932, Isleton, California, USA Date of Death 24 November 2005, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA (natural causes) Birth Name Noriyuki Morita Height 5' 3" (1.60 m) Mini Biography Born in Isleton, California to Japanese immigrants, the son of an itinerant fruit worker, Morita developed spinal tuberculosis at age two and spent the bulk of the next nine years in Northern California hospitals, including the Shriners Hospital in San Francisco. He was for long periods wrapped in a full body cast and was told he would never walk. Often alone and isolated, young Morita made sock puppets to entertain himself. After a surgeon fused four vertebrae in his spine, Noriyuki finally learned to walk again at age 11. By then, his Japanese American family had been sent to an internment camp to be detained for the duration of World War II. He was transported from the hospital directly to the Gila River camp in Arizona to join them. It was at this time that he met a Catholic priest from whom he would later take his stagename "Pat". For a time after the war, the family operated Ariake Chop Suey, a restaurant in Sacramento, California. Teenage "Nori" would entertain customers with jokes and serve as master of ceremonies for group dinners. Noriyuki graduated from Armijo High School in Fairfield, California and shortly thereafter moved back to the Sacramento area, where he took a job with Aerojet-General, an aerospace company that designed and manufactured rocket engines, including those for the US Navy's UGM-27 Polaris. It was only after working his way up to head of a computer operations department that Morita, by now a husband and father, and also seriously overweight, decided he had taken the wrong path in life. He quit and became a standup comedian. Often billed as "the Hip Nip" in his standup act, he became a member of the Los Angeles improvisational comedy troupe The Groundlings. Television and movie career His first movie role was as a stereotypical henchman in Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967). Later, a recurring role as a Korean Captain Sam Pak on the sitcom M*A*S*H helped advance the comedian's acting career. He had a recurring role on the show Happy Days as Mesuma "Arnold" Takahashi, owner of the diner Arnold's. After the first season (1975-1976), he left "Happy Days" to star as inventor Taro Takahashi in his own show, Mr. T and Tina, the first Asian American sitcom on network TV. The sitcom was placed on Saturday nights by ABC and was quickly cancelled after a month in the fall of 1976. In 1977 Morita starred in the short lived Blansky's Beauties as "Arnold". Morita eventually returned to Happy Days, reprising his role in the 1982-1983 season. He appeared in an episode of The Odd Couple, and also had a recurring role on the NBC sitcom Sanford and Son in the mid-1970s, playing a Japanese chef named Ah Chew. Morita gained worldwide fame playing wise karate teacher Keisuke Miyagi who taught young "Daniel-san" (Ralph Macchio) in The Karate Kid, a film that included the famous quote "Wax on, wax off". He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor as well as a Golden Globe and reprised his role as the sensei Mr. Miyagi in three sequels. Morita never formally practiced a martial art and most of his karate scenes were performed by stunt double (and noted shito-ryu karate-ka) Fumio Demura. Although he had been using the name "Pat Morita" for years, producer Jerry Weintraub suggested that Pat be billed with his given name to sound more ethnic (see [1]). Morita went on to star as the title character in the ABC detective show Ohara which aired in 1987 and ended a year later due to poor ratings. He then wrote and starred in the World War II romance film Captive Hearts (1987). Late in his career, Morita starred on the Nickelodeon television series The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo and a recurring role on the sitcom The Hughleys. He also starred the lead in the film-short, Talk To Taka, somewhat reprising his role of Arnold, as a Sushi Chef that doles out advice to anyone that will hear him. Morita also had a cameo appearance in the 2001 Alien Ant Farm music video "Movies." Morita's appearance in the video spoofed his role in The Karate Kid. He would also reprise his role (to an extent) in the stop-motion animated series Robot Chicken. In the episode, he is assumed to be Mr. Miyagi, but he immediately denies that by saying, "First of all, I'm Pat F'in Morita!" He trains Joey Fatone how to do karate in order to defeat the Yakuza thugs that killed the other 'N Sync members. One of Morita's last roles was as Master Udon on the SpongeBob SquarePants episode, Karate Island. The episode was dedicated to him after he died about six months after the episode's first run. Like many Asian American actors, Morita spoke English with a natural American accent but was frequently typecast with a Japanese or Korean accent. Death Morita died on Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 2005 in Las Vegas, Nevada, at age 73. According to an article in People Magazine, Evelyn Guerrero, his third wife (separated from Morita by the time of his death), attributed the cause of his death to complications associated with alcoholism. He is survived by his daughters, Erin, Aly and Tia, and two grandchildren. Among his last roles was a voicework in the videogame Kingdom Hearts II, in which he reprised his role as the Chinese Emperor from Mulan. He also appeared in an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants (Karate Island) which wasn't released until after his death; the episode was dedicated to his memory. His very last movie was Royal Kill which also stars Eric Roberts, Gail Kim, and Lalaine and is directed by Babar Ahmed.

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Person Photo

Birth Name

Noriyuki Morita

Birth Place

Isleton, California, Estados Unidos

Birth Date

6/28/1932

Death Date

11/24/2005
Known For
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The Karate Kid Part II

Mr. Kesuke Miyagi (as Noriyuki 'Pat' Morita)

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The Karate Kid Part III

Mr. Kesuke Miyagi (as Noriyuki 'Pat' Morita)

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Honeymoon in Vegas

Mahi Mahi

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Bloodsport II

David Leung

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Do or Die

Masakana 'Kane' Kaneshiro

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Auntie Lee's Meat Pies

Chief Koal

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Ninjas Creed

Exhibition Manager

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King Cobra

Nick Hashimoto

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Earth Minus Zero

Dr. Mobius Jefferson

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American Ninja 5

Master Tetsu

Starring In
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More Than Miyagi: The Pat Morita Story

Self

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Kikoriki. Legend of the Golden Dragon

Wong

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Ninjas Creed

Exhibition Manager

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Oscarverleihung 2006

Himself - Memorial sequence (archive footage) (as Noriyuki 'Pat' Morita)

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Number One Girl

Mr. Sakata

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Only The Brave

Seigo Takata (as Pat Noriyuki Morita)

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The Karate Dog

Chin Li

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Down and Derby

Ono Yakimoto

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Opie Gets Laid

Wong

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American Fusion

Lao Dong

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Mulan 2

The Emperor (voice)

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The Last Shot

Himself

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18 Fingers of Death

Mr. Lee

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Elvis Has Left the Building

Man in Turban

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Spymate

Kiro

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High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story

Mr. Leo

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Shadow Fury

Dr. Oh

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House of Luk

Kwang Luk

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The Center of the World

Taxi Driver

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Volcano High

(MTV English Dub)

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I'll Remember April

Abe Tanaka

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Brother

Guy at the poker table (uncredited)

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Desert Heat

Jubal Early

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King Cobra

Nick Hashimoto

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Mulan

The Emperor (voice)

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Bloodsport 3:Combats à mains nues

Leung

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Spy Hard

Brian, Waiter in Restaurant

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Bloodsport II

David Leung

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Earth Minus Zero

Dr. Mobius Jefferson

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Timemaster

Isaiah (as Noriyuki 'Pat' Morita)

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Hart aber herzlich: Geheimnisse des Herzens

Ling Goldberg

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The Next Karate Kid

Sgt. Kesuke Miyagi (as Noriyuki "Pat" Morita)

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Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

The Chink (as Noriyuki 'Pat' Morita)

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American Ninja 5

Master Tetsu

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Auntie Lee's Meat Pies

Chief Koal

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Honeymoon in Vegas

Mahi Mahi

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Miracle Beach

Gus

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Do or Die

Masakana 'Kane' Kaneshiro

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Hiroshima: Out of the Ashes

Yoodo Toda

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Collision Course

Investigator Fujitsuka Natsuo

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The Karate Kid Part III

Mr. Kesuke Miyagi (as Noriyuki 'Pat' Morita)

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Babes in Toyland

The Toymaster

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The Karate Kid Part II

Mr. Kesuke Miyagi (as Noriyuki 'Pat' Morita)

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Alice in Wonderland

The Horse

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Night Patrol

Rape Victim

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The Karate Kid

Mr. Kesuke Miyagi (as Noriyuki 'Pat' Morita)

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Savannah Smiles

Father Ohara

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Slapstick

Ah Fong, the Chinese Ambassador

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A Transylvanian Werewolf In America

The Silversmith

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When Time Ran Out

Sam

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Midway

Rear Admiral Ryunosuke Kusaka

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Midway

Rear Admiral Ryunosuke Kusaka

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I Wonder Who's Killing Her Now?

Heshy Yamamoto

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Cancel My Reservation

Yamamoto

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Evil Roy Slade

Turhan

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Every Little Crook and Nanny

Nonaka

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Where Does It Hurt?

Nishimoto

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The Shakiest Gun In The West

Wong

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Thoroughly Modern Millie

Oriental #2

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