|Pat Morita Quick Info|
|Height||5 ft 3 in|
|Date of Birth||June 28, 1932|
Pat Morita was a Japanese-American actor most famously known for his role as the sensei Mr. Miyagi in the martial arts film The Karate Kid. His role was that of a janitor who has exceptional karate skills that the lead actor, a young boy persuades him to share. He spent 9 years of his childhood wrapped up in a cast in hospital, suffering from spinal tuberculosis. The prognosis given was that he would never walk.
His 1st step into the entertainment life was in his family’s restaurant in California, as a comic to customers and serving as master of ceremony to group dinners. His career progressed to stand-up comedy in nightclubs and bars and finally on-screen appearances in comedy films and eventually TV. He has played various roles such as a restaurant owner, in crime and police dramas and famously, as a karate teacher and mentor, as the voice of the emperor in an animated film, among many others. Often the roles were that of an unusual character that is eccentric and a wry manner of speech.
Morita died on November 24, 2005, at his home in Las Vegas due to kidney failure. He was 73 at the time of his death. He was survived by his wife Evelyn and daughter Tia Morita, Erin Morita and Aly Morita. His cremation was done in Las Vegas at the Palm Green Valley Mortuary and Cemetery.
The Hip Nip, Mr. Miyagi, Nori, Pat
Pat Morita was born on June 28, 1932.
Morita died on November 24, 2005, at the age of 73 at his home in Las Vegas due to kidney failure.
Isleton, California, United States
Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Pat Morita attended Armijo High School, Fairfield, California.
Actor, Voice Actor, Producer
- Father – Tamaru Morita (Deceased)
- Mother – Momoe Morita (Deceased)
- Siblings – Hideo ‘Harry’ (Older Brother)
5 ft 3 in or 160 cm
65 kg or 143.5 lbs
Girlfriend / Spouse
Pat Morita has dated –
- Kathleen Yamachi (1953-1967) – Pat and Kathleen got married in 1953. They were together for 14 years and had 1 daughter together.
- Yukiye Kitahara (1970-1989) – Pat and Yukiye were together for 19 years from 1970 to 1989. They had 2 daughters together.
- Evelyn Guerrero (1994-2005) – Pat and actress Evelyn Guerrero got married in 1994. They were together until his death in 2005. They had no children together.
Race / Ethnicity
He was of Japanese descent.
Due to his advancing age, his hair turned white.
- Short Stature
- Receding silver-white hair and goatee
- Good natured, affable
Pat endorsed brands such as –
- Lipton Sizzle & Stir
- TV Land Television Network
- Alien Ant Farm music videos “Movies”
- Colgate toothpaste
- First Hawaiian Bank
Best Known For
- Acting in films such as The Karate Kid, in the animated Disney film Mulan, Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Shakiest Gun in The West, Midway, Honeymoon in Vegas, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, among others
- Appearing in TV shows such as M*A*S*H, Happy Days, Mr. T and Tina, Sanford and Son, The Love Boat, Magnum, P.I., Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Diagnosis Murder, Baywatch, among others
- Writing and starring in a romance film about a World War Two pilot Captive Hearts
As a Singer
Pat Morita performed in several songs such as The Japanese Sandman in the movie Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967), Happy Birthday to You in The Karate Kid (1984), and Eyes Of A Child in Babes in Toyland (1986).
Pat Morita made his feature film debut as Noriyuki Morita in the 1964 film Car Thieves.
First TV Show
He made his TV show debut as Himself on The Hollywood Palace in 1964.
Pat Morita Facts
- Pat was sickly as a child and developed spinal tuberculosis at the age of 2, which had him hospitalized until he was 11 years old.
- For most of those 9 years spent in the hospital, he was in a full body cast and told that he will never be able to walk.
- He had spinal surgery and was moved to Arizona to be with his family as he learned to walk.
- After the Second World War, Pat entertained customers with jokes, at the family’s Ariake Chop Suey restaurant in Sacramento, California.
- He soon progressed in his entertainment career to being an MC for group dinner.
- Pat Morita’s career evolved and he started stand-up comedy.
- He used his nickname “Hip Nip” for his billing in his comic gigs.
- As a struggling comic, he was fortunate to meet Redd Foxx when he started doing his stand-up and was his opening act in some gigs. They became firm friends.
- Foxx gave him the role of Ah Chew, in his sitcom Sanford and Son.
- Pat’s brother Hideo (Harry), was 12 years older than him.
- His father immigrated to California in 1915 and his mother immigrated in 1913.
- He spent some of his youth in a Japanese internment camp in Arizona during World War Two with his family.
- Pat was not able to do karate. He acted as the karate mentor Mr. Miyagi, in Karate Kid.
- Pat learned all the karate that was necessary for all the 4 karate films, Karate Kid, The Karate Kid Part II, The Karate Kid Part III, and The Next Karate Kid. He was famous for teaching the martial sport in the film by repeating the phrase ‘wax on, wax off’.
- He got a nomination for an Academy Award for “Best Supporting Actor” in the Karate Kid.
- Pat was the 1st American born Asian to get a nomination for an Academy Award.
- He got a similar “Best Supporting Actor” nomination in the Golden Globe Award for this role as the karate teacher.
- He played the role of an inventor in Mr. T and Tina, the 1st Asian-American sitcom on network TV.
- Pat was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award and a 2nd Golden Globe Award for his role in the TV movie Amos.
- In 1990-1991, Pat hosted the video series Britannica’s Tales Around the World.
- He was a very heavy drinker, a closet alcoholic.
- He had 3 daughters, 2 with his second wife and, one with his first.
- His last TV role was in SpongeBob SquarePants in the Karate Island episode. It aired 6 months after his death. It was dedicated to him.
- His last movie role was the 2009 movie Royal Kill.
- He wasn’t active on social media.
Featured Image by ABC Television Press Relations / Wikimedia / Public Domain