Noriyuki Pat Morita better known as Pat Morita, was as famous actor-comedian known for his role as Matuso “Arnold” Takahashi on Happy Days.
Further, he played in America's one of the most love martial arts movie The Karate Kid as Mr. Miyagi. Morita was nominated for the 1985 academy award for the best supporting actor for his role in The Karate Kid.
Additionally, he voiced the emperor of the china in Disney animated movie Mulan and portrayed ah chew in Stanford and son.
We saw Jaden Smith (Dre Parker) and legendery martial arts movie star Jackie Chan (Mr. Han) re-do the whole sensei-apprentice act but people still consider Noriyuki Morita's version of Karate Kid as an all time best American Martial Arts Trilogy.
The movie was released in June 22, 1984 and made $91 million in the Box Office.
Youtube: Take a look at the legendary Audition of The Karate Kid
Other than that, Pat was one of the best stand-up guys, voice artist, and a TV actors of his time. The academy award nominee is still looked at with a lot of honor and respect by actors and even martial arts fans all over the globe.
Morita was born in Isleton, California on June 28, 1932 to a Japanese Immigrant's family of Tamaru Morita, an Immigrant from Japan who settled in California. Further, Pat grew up with his sibling brother Hideo (Harry) who was 12 years older than Pat.
Morita developed spinal tuberculosis then known as pot disease at the age of two and for long period of time he was wrapped in full body cast and was told he could never walk again but Daniel San's sensei wasn't ready to submit and he walked again to give us shows like Happy Days & movies like Karate kid franchise. After 9 long years of hospital stays in San Fransisco and California, he was finally able to walk.
Morita was a very goofy cool kid from a very early days and begin his work as a stand-up comic right after graduation from Armijo high school.
His father opened a restaurant in Sacramento, California, named Ariake Chop Suey, after the war. Morita would entertain clients and serve as the master of ceremony dinners. After graduating from Armijo High School in Fairfield, California, Morita started working as a stand-up comic.
He took the stage name "Pat" partly because he loved actors including Pat Henry and Pat Cooper, and partly because his hospital days friend (a prist who he befriended at his time in hospital).
As per Pat, the priest once said if Pat recovers and turns to Christianity he would name him "Patrick Aloysius Ignatius Xavier Noriyuki Morita".
So, with an easier name Pat, Morita struggled in comedy for many years. Sally Marr, the mother of Lenny Bruce, served in his early days as his agent and manager. Morita worked for singers Vic Damone and Connie Stevens as the opening act at times.
Pat married Kathleen Yamachi for the first time in 1953. He went on to marry his second wife, Yukiye Kitahara in 1970, after separating from her in 1967.
Morita then divorced his second wife. Finally, in 1994, he married American actress Evelyn Guerrero, who stayed with him until his death.
Pat found success in his career after he was cast in the America's most viewed show "Happy Days" and after that it was all uphill climb to fame for the short-Japanese American. He became a rare bonsai tree which gained its worth after years.
At the time of his death in 2005, Pat's net worth was around $5 millions. He was a very simple guy who lived a simple yet meaningful life.
Additionally, he received over $50 thousand per Happy Days Episode which in 2019 will be over $250 thousand now.
Pat Morita died of a tragic kidney failure In November 24, 2005 in his Las Vegas residence at the age of 73.
Though he is not around, his TV roles and movies are still here with to make us laugh. The actor is missed by all generations and we believe his roles will still live for years to come.