Pat Morita, the Japanese actor who gained fame and an Oscar nomination for his role as Mr. Miyagi in the endless Karate Kid series, died Thursday. Morita, whose first major role was that of Arnold Takahashi on Happy Days, began acting in 1967 (as "Oriental #1" in Thoroughly Modern Millie) and had worked steadily since The Karate Kid was released in 1985.
In addition to his pop culture resonance as Mr. Miyagi, Morita also served as one of the few well-known reminders of the US internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. As a child, he was sent directly from the hospital - where he was recovering from spinal tuberculosis - to join his parents in an Arizona internment camp. Morita never shied away from talking about his time in the camp, and thus was one of the few prominent voices still discussing that period of American history.
Morita was 73.