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General information  

  • Real name : Noriyuki Morita
  • Place of birth : Isleton
  • Date of birth : 28/06/1932
  • Place of death : Las Vegas
  • Date of death : 24/11/2005

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  • Morita Pat
  • Pat

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Pat Morita (1932)

Noriyuki Morita

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  Summary  

Noriyuki "Pat" Morita (June 28, 1932 – November 24, 2005) was an American actor of Japanese descent who was well-known for playing the roles of Matsuo "Arnold" Takahashi on Happy Days and Mr. Miyagi in the The Karate Kid movie series, for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1984.

  Biography  

 early life
Pat Morita was born in Isleton, California. He developed spinal tuberculosis at the age of two and spent the bulk of the next nine years in Northern Californian hospitals, including the Shriners Hospital in San Francisco. For long periods he was wrapped in a full-body cast and was told he would never walk.

After a surgeon fused four vertebrae in his spine, Pat finally learned to walk again at the age of 11. By then, his Japanese American family had been sent to an internment camp to be detained for the duration of World War II.

He was transported from the hospital directly to the Gila River camp in Arizona to join them. It was at this time that he met a Catholic priest from whom he would later take his stage name, "Pat". For a time after the war, the family operated Ariake Chop Suey, a restaurant in Sacramento, California. Teenage "Nori" would entertain customers with jokes and serve as master of ceremonies for group dinners. Later, he worked as a data entry clerk for the State of California and at Aerojet-General Corporation near Sacramento. In the early 1960s, he started his career as a stand-up comedian known as The Hip Nip, performing in local nightclubs and bars.

Morita was married three times. His first marriage was soon after he finished high school at Armijo High School in Fairfield, California. They were married for 14 years and had one daughter, Erin Morita, born in 1954. Apparently his decision to quit his job and become a stand-up comedian destroyed his first marriage.

Morita later married his second wife, Yuki, in 1970. They had two daughters, Aly and Tia. The couple had to deal with several setbacks during their marriage. First, their $300,000 uninsured, Tarzana, California, home was badly damaged in a mudslide. The family escaped with just the clothes they were wearing. Shortly afterward, Tia, their youngest daughter, was diagnosed with kidney disease. Their marriage dissolved in 1982 after two years of separation.

Morita met his last wife, Evelyn Louise Guerrero, when she was 15 years old because Evelyn's mother had the same manager, Sally Marr. Morita and Evelyn met again years later, and were married in Las Vegas on March 26, 1994; they remained together until his death. They did not have any children together.

 death
Pat Morita died on November 24, 2005, at his home in Las Vegas of kidney failure at the age of 73. He was survived by his wife of 15 years, Evelyn, as well as his children from previous marriages, Erin, Aly, and Tia. He was also survived by siblings Gloria Imagire, Clarence Saika, Teddy Saika, Peggy Saika, and his then-92-year-old mother, Dorothy Sueko Saika (1913–2009), of Milpitas, California.

He was cremated at Palm Green Valley Mortuary and Cemetery in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Pat Morita", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.