When pretty much every movie fan in America can identify you based on only four words of dialogue, you know you’ve got a lasting place in pop-culture history. Yet Pat Morita, who died on Thanksgiving in Los Angeles at age 73, will be remembered for more than his famous ”Wax on, wax off” line from 1984’s The Karate Kid. Morita was the first Asian-American actor nominated for an Oscar (for his portrayal of Mr. Miyagi, a role he would reprise in three Karate Kid sequels), had a regular role on Happy Days in the 1970s, headlined the short-lived 1987 detective series Ohara, and appeared in films such as Honeymoon in Vegas, Spy Hard, and Even Cowgirls Get the Blues.
Posted January 18 2015 — 7:47 AM EST
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