Noriyuki "Pat" Morita
1932-2005 To a generation he was Mr. Miyagi, Daniel-san’s (Ralph Macchio) mentor in the The Karate Kid movies, but to me he will always be Arnold from Happy Days.
As a child Morita suffered from spinal tuberculosis and was told that he would never walk again. Thanks to an operation to fuse four vertebrae he was on his feet only to be sent with his family to a Japanese internment camp in Arizona during World War II. After all this hardship and suffering Pat Morita dedicated his life to making people laugh. After years of stand-up comedy in the early '60s known as "The Hip Nip" and roles in film and television Morita landed his breakthrough role as the 50's drive-in owner Matsuo "Arnold" Takahashi.
I was trying to think of an Arnold quote, but Arnold’s best lines were either in Japanese or sound effects. To quote Pat Morita, "Only in America could you get away with the kind of comedy I did".
Good Night Mr. Morita. I will always remember you as a source of laughter and inspiration.
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