Pat Morita was a Japanese-American actor. Pat is best known for playing the role of “Arnold” Takahashi on the globally popular sitcom Happy Days. He stayed a part of the show from 1974-1984. He is also popular for playing the character of “Mr.” Keisuke Miyagi in The Karate Kid movie franchise. He was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award in 1984 for this movie.
Pat was born on June 28, 1932, in Isleton, California. Morita suffered from spinal tuberculosis when he was just two years old. He spent his early childhood in a sanitarium. He stayed under treatment for 9 years as he battled for his life. Morita and his family moved to the U.S. to an internment camp in Arizona. This was a similar fate suffered by many Japanese and Japanese Americans at the time of World War II. After the war ended, Pat’s family moved back to California. Pat’s family ran a Chinese restaurant in Sacramento and Pat helped his family at the restaurant.
When he turned 30, Morita started to pursue a career in comedy. Sally Marr, who is Lenny Bruce’s mother, helped him to pursue an acting career and served as his agent and manager during his early days of career. Morita also worked for the singers Vic Damone and Connie Stevens and comedian Redd Foxx. He performed as the opening act for these popular singers. Foxx later signed him for a role on his sitcom Sanford and Sons during the ’70s.
In 1975 Morita was signed on to play a major character in the Ron Howard and Henry Winkler sitcom Happy Days. He quit the series after appearing in the first season. He signed a short-lived comedy Mr. T and Tina after quitting Happy days. In 1982, Morita made a return on the sitcom Happy Days when the show was airing its final season. In
1984, Morita’s career reached the ultimate heights when he appeared in The Karate Kid. Pat played a maintenance worker who worked in an apartment building in the movie. He befriends a young tenant with the name of Daniel His character in the movie mentors Daniel and trains him in martial arts.
The little boy is targeted by bullies but his mentor gives him strength and takes him out of the trouble that he is facing. The film was a massive commercial success and also earned a lot of critical praise. Morita earned his one and only Academy Award nomination for portraying the role of Mr. Miyagi. Morita returned to the screen to play supporting roles on many television shows and films during his career. He has also been a part of several Karate Kid sequels.
Pat Morita Death
Morita passed away in 1995 after suffering from liver failure. He passed away in his home in Las Vegas, Nevada. Pat was married to wife Evelyn at the time of his death. Evelyn was his third wife and he left behind his wife and three daughters who were born from his first two marriages.
Pat Morita had a net worth of $5 million dollars at the time of his death. The actor earned his net worth from his acting career. He received a good salary package from his Television show Happy days. He has also appeared in The Karate Kid franchise and has also earned his net worth from his long successful film and TV career.