Pat Morita

Pat Morita

Known For: Acting · Birthday: 1932-06-28 · Deathday: 2005-11-24 (73 years old) · Gender: Male · Place of Birth: Isleton, California, USA

88 Movies · 42 TV shows

Also Known As: Noriyuki 'Pat' Morita · Patrick N. Morita · Pat Noriyuki Morita · Noriyuki Morita · Noryuki 'Pat' Morita

Biography.

Noriyuki "Pat" Morita (June 28, 1932 – November 24, 2005) was a Japanese-American actor, voice actor, and comedian. He was known for his roles as Matsuo "Arnold" Takahashi on Happy Days (1975–1983), Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid film series, Mike Woo in The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo, and The Emperor of China in Mulan and Mulan II. Morita was nominated for the 1985 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid., which would be the first of a media franchise in which Morita was the central player for much of his later career. Morita also portrayed Ah Chew in Sanford and Son (1974–1976). Morita was the series lead actor in the television program Mr. T and Tina (1976) and in Ohara (1987–1988), a police-themed drama. The two shows made history for being among the few TV shows with an Asian American series lead.

Movies & TV shows.

88 Movies · 42 TV shows
TV
Cobra Kai

Cobra Kai

6.91
2018
Mulan II

Mulan II

6.24
2004
Brother

Brother

5.25
2000
Inferno

Inferno

9
1999
Mulan

Mulan

6.67
1998
TV
Boy Meets World
TV
Ohara

Ohara

1987
Amos

Amos

1985
TV
Magnum, P.I.

Magnum, P.I.

5.61
1980
TV
The Love Boat
TV
Lou Grant
Midway

Midway

1
1976
TV
Police Woman

Police Woman

5.55
1974
TV
Happy Days

Happy Days

6.28
1974
TV
M*A*S*H

M*A*S*H

5.65
1972
TV
Columbo

Columbo

4.89
1971
TV
Cannon

Cannon

6
1971
TV
McCloud

McCloud

7
1970
TV
Hawaii Five-O
TV
Green Acres

Early Life.

Morita was born in Isleton, California, in 1932. Morita's father Tamaru, born in 1897, immigrated to California from Kumamoto Prefecture on the Japanese island of Kyushu in 1915. Tamaru's wife, Momoe, born in 1903, immigrated to California in 1913. Noriyuki, as Pat was named, had a brother named Hideo (Harry) who was twelve years older.Morita developed spinal tuberculosis (Pott disease) at the age of two and spent the bulk of the next nine years in the Weimar Institute in Weimar, California and later at the Shriners Hospital in San Francisco. For long periods, he was wrapped in a full-body cast and was told that he would never walk. During his time at a sanatorium near Sacramento, Morita befriended a visiting priest who would often joke that, if Morita ever converted to Catholicism, the priest would rename him to "Patrick Aloysius Ignatius Xavier Noriyuki Morita". Released from the hospital at age 11 after undergoing extensive spinal surgery and learning how to walk, Morita was transported from the hospital directly to the Gila River camp in Arizona to join his interned family. After about a year and a half, he was transferred to the Tule Lake War Relocation Center.After World War II ended, Morita moved back to the Bay Area and he graduated from Armijo High School in Fairfield, California in 1949. For a time after the war, the family operated Ariake Chop Suey, a restaurant in Sacramento, California, jokingly described by Morita years later as "a Japanese family running a Chinese restaurant in a black neighborhood with a clientele of blacks, Filipinos and everybody else who didn’t fit in any of the other neighborhoods". Morita would entertain customers with jokes and serve as master of ceremonies for group dinners. After Morita’s father was killed in 1956 by a brutal hit-and-run accident while walking home from an all-night movie, Morita and his mother kept the restaurant going for another three or four years. Needing a regular job to support his wife and a newly born child, Morita became a data processor in the early 1960s with the Department of Motor Vehicles and other state agencies, graduating to a graveyard shift job at Aerojet General. In due time, he was a department head at another aerospace firm, Lockheed, handling the liaison between the engineers and the programmers who were mapping out lunar eclipses for Polaris and Titan missile projects.However, Morita suffered from occupational burnout and decided to quit his job and try show business. He began working as a stand-up comedian at small clubs in Sacramento and San Francisco, and took the stage name "Pat Morita", in part due to the presence of comedians including Pat Henry and Pat Cooper, and in part due to memories of the priest he had befriended as a boy. Morita struggled for many years in comedy, until fellow performer — ventriloquist Hank Garcia — told him to try his luck in Los Angeles. Sally Marr, Lenny Bruce's mother, acted as his agent and manager after he moved to Los Angeles, and booked him in the San Fernando Valley and at the Horn nightclub in Santa Monica. Morita sometimes worked as the opening act for singers Vic Damone and Connie Stevens and for his mentor, the comedian Redd Foxx. Foxx later gave him a role on his sitcom Sanford and Son in the early 1970s.
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