The first Karate Kid movie that debuted in the 1980’s was one of the most popular movies of its time and rightly so. The movie didn’t just thrill us with the somewhat generic story of a new kid standing up to the local school bully and coming out successful. The movie was also not exactly a karate movie too; it was more like a mixture of both. One of the things that made the Karate Kid very popular among its viewers was how inclusive it was for different people. It had a bit of comedy to lighten up the serious parts and appeal to those who enjoyed a good comedy. And it was spiced up with a little bit of chick flick to entice the girls.
The movie was so good that it was able to seep into popular culture while also standing through time. Everyone knows that one of the things that makes a movie good is the characters. A movie could have a good storyline, and screenplay but a poor choice of characters would make it a colossal failure. This was not the case for The Karate Kid. Its characters were well picked, and to that effect, they boosted the movie even more. However, it’s been so long since we have seen our favorite characters and now we would love to know what they are doing right now and where they are today.
Here is a list of the characters of Karate Kid and what they are doing with their lives today.
1. Ralph Macchio, Daniel LaRusso
Then: Ralph Macchio was not the first choice for the role of Daniel LaRusso. It was first given to Charlie Sheen as a matter of fact before it was finally offered to Macchio. In the movie, Daniel LaRusso is a teenager who has just transferred to a new school. But unfortunately for him, he has been targeted by the bullies in his school who had been training themselves in the form of martial arts that wasn’t ethical. While that movie was being filmed, Macchio was actually 22 years old, and after his success in Karate Kid, he went on to star in the 2 sequels of Karate Kid.
Now: Macchio only just had a role in an episode of “How I Met Your Mother.” He also landed a supporting role in the movie, “Hitchcock.”
2. Pat Morita, Keisuke Miyagi
Pat Morita had already made his mark in the movie world by the time he was offered the role of a mentor to the Karate Kid. In the movie, he was known as the wise Keisuke Miyagi. He also landed another role in Happy Days, a series that lasted from 1975-1983 in which he appeared in 20 episodes. Pat Morita was nominated for an Oscar Award for his role in the Karate Kid in 1985. He also acted in the other sequels following the original movie. Until his death in 2005, Pat Morita was a fixture in TV and Film.
3. Elisabeth Shue, Ali Mills
Then: When Elizabeth Shue landed a role in the Karate Kid, she was an upcoming actress whose name wasn’t known. She was opportune to act the role of Ali Mills, Daniel LaRusso’s crush and girlfriend of one of his bullies Johnny.
Now: Shue decided to move out of her comfort zone and take on a role that didn’t cast her as a teen queen when she starred in the movie, ‘Leaving Las Vegas’ in the 90’s. It was a rousing success, and for her performance in that movie, she was nominated for an Academy Award.
She also did a stint in the comedy, ‘Hamlet II’ after which she became a regular actress and part of the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation ‘ series. She has since then also acted in’ House at the End of the Street’ and ‘Chasing Mavericks’
4. William Zabka, Johnny Lawrence
Now: Zabka’s role in the Karate Kid as the villain made him a popular choice as the villain in most of the movies that were filmed in the 80’s. Zabka is an actor, but that does not stop him from also directing movies, writing and producing. For his work in writing and producing the movie “Most” in 2004, he was nominated for an Academy Award. Zabka just like Macchio was given a role in the series, “How I Met Your Mother” and he also appeared in the comedy “Hot Tub Time Machine.”
5. Ron Thomas, Bobby Brown
Then: Ron Thomas played the role of Bobby Brown, one of the members of the Cobra Kai. In the second part of the movie, he also played Bobby Brown again.
Now: Thomas stopped acting in1987, but in 2011, he showed up on the web comedy show ‘Tosh.0’ as “Bobby Brown.”
6. Chad McQueen, Dutch
Then: Chad McQueen, the son of Steve McQueen, one of the movie greats was cast in the role of Dutch as one of the members of the Cobra Kai. He appeared in Karate Kid one and two.
Now: Chad McQueen was given several roles in many movies within the 80’s and the 90’s, but he didn’t stay in the industry as his real love was for racing cars. He decided to pursue a career in it and was successful. He made a good career in racing around the 00’s and currently owns a custom motorcycle and race car company.
7. Tony O’Dell, Jimmy
Then: Tony O’Dell who had previously made his mark in ‘Dynasty’ was cast in the role of Jimmy in the Karate Kid as a rich kid. He also got another role in ‘Head of the Class’ as Alan, the rich kid.
Now: O’Dell hasn’t really been a fixture in the movie industry, and of late he has only just appeared in ‘Shake it Up’ and ‘George Lopez’
8. Martin Kove, John Kreese
Then: The rumor mill says that Chuck Norris was offered the role of the Cobra Kai leader, John Kreese but rejected it because the role did not really keep in line with his martial arts belief. As for Chuck, he claims that the role was never offered to him, but we still think that he would have abhorred the role and still rejected it even if it were given to him and for the same reason. However, the role was offered to Martin Kove who had already starred in the movie, ‘The Last House on the Left” and Death Race in 2000
Now: Kove showed up as the Cobra Kai’s leader in the two other parts of the Karate Kid. He has since shown up in movies like’ Black Sheep’ and’ Middle Men’
9. Randee Heller, Lucille LaRusso
Then: The Soap Star, Randee Helmer played the role of Daniel LaRusso’s loving mother.
Now: Over the years, Rande Heller has enjoyed success in her movie career. She has acted in these popular series ‘The Mentalist” and “Desperate Housewives.” However, she is best known as the secretary in Mad Men.
Credits And Photos: screencrush.com