Mr. Miyagi passes away, Thanksgiving Day

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Monday, November 28, 2005

Pat Morita, nee Noriyuki Morita, who was best known for his work in the 1984 film The Karate Kid and its sequels, passed away on November 24. The cause of death is not yet confirmed, but was said to be natural.

Pat started out at a stand-up comedian in the 1960s, and styled himself the "Hip Nip". "'Hip Nip' just sounds groovy," Morita said "A drummer laid it on me." His career took off, and he became a regular on the show Happy Days as "Arnold" of "Arnold's Restaurant" fame. He also acted in the show Mr. T and Tina which was an unsuccessful spin-off of the Welcome Back Kotter series.

However, Pat's career continued, and he starred in several TV movies including Amos and a 1987-88 made-for-TV police drama called Ohara. Then, for his acclaimed performance in The Karate Kid, he was nominated for an Academy Award.

At his death, Morita had over 100 screen credits, including The Karate Kid sequels, and also as a voice character in the Disney films Mulan and Mulan II. Morita was beloved by many children of the 80s, and remains a popular icon.