Friday, November 25, 2005

Wax Off...

For those of you old enough to remember... Pat Morita, who played Mr. Miyage in The Karate Kid, as well as Arnold on Happy Days has died, at age 71.

I guess the first thing that surprised me was that Morita was nominated for an Academy Award for his portayal of Miyage in the first Karate Kid - to think that The Karate Kid was nominated for an Academy Award just stuns me.

Taking a closer look at Morita's life, however, you get a much better sense of how extraordinary this man was. Born in the 1930s, Morita and his family were forced into an Internment Camp in Arizona during World War II. (An aside - as an Arizona native, reading about the two internment camps in Arizona is deeply troubling for me.)

Certainly, in today's culture there aren't many Asians in the media - a handful. Margaret Cho talked about how rare it was to see an Asian on TV when she was growing up - usually only as extras on M*A*S*H, where Morita's TV career got its start. Morita was one of the few actors who paved the way for more acceptance of Asian-American in the mainstream.

So, take a moment to remember the life of Pat Morita -- thanks, Pat, we'll miss you.


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