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Where the cast of Karate Kid is now and what happened to the actors

Darcy Rafter May 18, 2022
Actor Ralph Macchio talks to the audience after viewing the Karate Kid at the Santander Performing Arts Center Saturday night.  Actor Ralph Macchio at the SPAC  Photo by Harold Hoch  4/16/16
Photo By Harold Hoch/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

The Karate Kid movie was released in 1984 and quickly became a box office hit as it told the story of Daniel, a teenager who learns karate from neighbour Mr Miyagi to defend himself from school bullies.

The film came out more than three decades ago but remains a cult favourite, so let’s take a look back at the cast of the film and see what they’re up to nowadays.

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Photo By Harold Hoch/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

Ralph Macchio as Daniel LaRusso

At the time of filming The Karate Kid, Macchio was 22. Charlie Sheen was actually offered the role of Daniel LaRusso before it went to Ralph. However, Ralph had impressed producers with his performance as Johnny Cade in 1983 film The Outsider, so landed the role.

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He reprised the role of Daniel LaRusso in the sequels The Karate Kid Part II and The Karate Kid Part III and was actually 27 years old by the time the trilogy came to an end.

Since Karate Kid, the lead actor has appeared on an episode of How I Met Your Mother as himself and had a small supporting role in Hitchcock. Ralph is now in his 60s and is starring in Cobra Kai, which is a Karate Kid spin-off reprising his role as Daniel.

Cobra Kai takes place 30 years after the events of the 1984 All Valley Karate Tournament. Daniel is now a father and the show follows his struggles as he tries to navigate life without the guidance of Mr Miyagi.

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Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

William Zabka as Johnny Lawrence

William Zabka plays Johnny Lawrence, Daniel LaRusso’s main rival, and reprised the role in The Karate Kid II. Since his Karate Kid days, William has earned an Academy Award nomination for writing and producing the film Most in 2004.

He also appeared on How I Met Your Mother as himself and had a small role in Hot Tub Time Machine. More recently, the actor teamed up with Ralph for spin-off series Cobra Kai, where he also serves as an executive producer. 

Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/FilmMagic

Pat Morita as Mr Miyagi

Pat was widely known as Matsuo “Arnold” Takahashi on Happy Days in the 1970s, although Karate Kid-lovers will know him best as Daniel’s karate coach, Mr Miyagi. Sadly, Pat passed away from kidney failure on 24 November 2005 at his home in Las Vegas at the age of 73.

Photo by M. Caulfield/WireImage

Elisabeth Shue as Ali Mills

The Karate Kid propelled Elisabeth Shue to success and, following the film, she went on to star in other classic Eighties hits including Back To The Future II and III and Cocktail. A decade later she earned an Academy Award nomination for starring in drama Leaving Las Vegas and is now a series regular on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. She has also appeared in House At The End Of The Street and Chasing Mavericks.

Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images

Randee Heller as Lucille LaRusso

Randee started her career in US sitcom Soap but, after landing her role in Karate Kid, she became famous for being Daniel’s mother, Lucille. She was a doting mom and became loved internationally for her caring character.

Since Karate Kid, Randee has continued to act and had parts in The Mentalist, Desperate Housewives, and as Miss Blankenship in Mad Men.

Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage

Yuji Okumoto as Chozen Toguchi

Yuji Okumoto starred as Chozen Toguchi in The Karate Kid Part II, where he played a villain. He also reprised the role of Chozen in two episodes of Cobra Kai season 3 in which he plays a miyagi-do karate instructor in Okinawa.

Yuji Okumoto now lives in Seattle and, aside from acting, runs his own restaurant.

Photo by CBS via Getty Images
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Darcy is an experienced journalist passionate about celebrity culture and entertainment. After gaining a degree in Media and Communications at Goldsmiths University she has also become a social media specialist, always keeping informed on the latest trends. With almost five years of experience in media, her expertise is analysing platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. When she's not tracking the latest trending content, she’s watching films and eating lots of chocolate.