Actor. Born in northern California to migrant fruit pickers, he 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. For years, he 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." In 1984, he appeared in the role that would define his career and spawn countless affectionate imitations. As 'Kesuke Miyagi', the mentor to Ralph Macchio's 'Daniel-san' in "The Karate Kid", he taught karate while trying to catch flies with chopsticks and offering such advice as "wax on, wax off" to guide Daniel through chores to improve his skills. For this role, he was nominated for an Acadamy Award. Morita said in a 1986 interview with the Associated Press he was billed as Noriyuki "Pat" Morita in the film because producer Jerry Weintraub wanted him to sound more ethnic. He said he used the billing because it was "the only name my parents gave me." Morita was prolific outside of the "Karate Kid" series as well, appearing in "Honeymoon in Vegas," "Spy Hard," "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues" and "The Center of the World." He also provided the voice for a character in the Disney movie "Mulan" in 1998.
Bio by: Garak