Noriyuki “Pat” Morita was born on the 28th June 1932, in Isleton, California, USA, and was an actor of Japanese ancestry who had numerous notable roles both on television in such as “Happy Days” (1975-1983), and in films including “The Karate Kid” (2004) for which he was nominated for Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 1985. Morita’s acting skills certainly increased his net worth. His career started in 1960 and lasted until his death in 2005.
Have you ever wondered how rich Pat Morita was, at the time of his death? According to authoritative sources, it has been estimated that Pat Morita’s net worth was as high as $5 million. His successful career in movies and TV shows contributed most of his wealth.
Pat Morita Net Worth $5 Million
Noriyuki Morita was raised in California, the younger of two children of Tamaru and Momoye Morita, who immigrated to America from Japan in 1912. Pat’s older brother Harry was born twelve years before him. As a toddler, Morita suffered from spinal tuberculosis and was forced to spend the next nine years in hospitals in Northern California, not being discharged from the hospital until he was 11, and then he started learning to walk. As a result of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbour, Morita was transferred to Internment of Japanese Americans in Gila River camp in Arizona to join his family. After the war, his family opened a restaurant in Sacramento, and Pat’s job was to entertain the customers.
Pat had a couple of unremarkable roles before getting a part in George Roy Hill’s comedy “Thoroughly Modern Millie” in 1967. The following year, Morita appeared in “The Shakiest Gun in the West” with Don Knotts, Barbara Rhoades, and Jackie Coogan, and then had episode roles in various TV series. In the first half of the 70’s, Pat worked in “Evil Roy Slade” (1972) starring Mickey Rooney, Russ Mayberry’s “A Very Missing Person” (1972), and in two episodes of “M*A*S*H” (1973-1974).
He later had roles in the TV series “Sanford and Son” (1974-1976), “Mr. T and Tina” (1976), “Blansky’s Beauties” (1977), and in the movie “Midway” (1976) starring Charlton Heston, Henry Fonda, and James Coburn. He appeared in 26 episodes of “Happy Days” from 1975 to 1983, which was his biggest project at the time. However, the movie “The Karate Kid” in 1984 was his best work in his career, and Morita was nominated for an Oscar. Pat continued to be busy during the 80’s, and had roles in “Amos” (1985) starring Kirk Douglas, Harry Harris’ “Alice in Wonderland” (1985), the less successful sequel of “The Karate Kid 2” (1986), and starred in “Captive Hearts” (1987).
Morita was a lead actor in the series “Ohara” (1987-1988), had another part in “The Karate Kid 3” (1989), “Hiroshima: Out of the Ashes” (1990) starring Max von Sydow and Judd Nelson, and Michael Engler’s “Mastergate” (1992). In the mid-90’s, Morita starred in “Greyhounds” (1994) with James Coburn and Robert Guillaume, and in “The Next Karate Kid” (1994) with Hilary Swank, before being cast in a leading role in the series “The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo” (1996-1998). He gave his voice to the Emperor in “Mulan” (1998), and worked in Bob Clark’s “I’ll Remember April” (2000), Wayne Wang’s “The Center of the World” (2001), and appeared in five episodes of “Baywatch” (2000-2001).
In the last few years before his death, Morita had parts in “The Stoneman” (2002), “Down and Derby” (2005), and “American Fusion” (2005). However, even after he died, Morita’s movies saw daylight, and some of them are: Robin Christian’s “Act Your Age” (2011), Jason Bunch’s “Blunt Movie”, and most recently, Michael Fischa’s “Rice Girl” (2014).
Regarding his personal life, Pat Morita was married to Kathleen Yamachi from 1953 to 1967(divorced) and had one child with her. He later married Yukiye Kitahara from 1970 to 1989 (divorced), and had two children with her. Morita’s third wife was Evelyn Guerrero from 1994 to his death – he died from kidney failure aged 73, on the 24th November 2005 in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
As a child, Pat and his family were forced to relocate to internment camp in Arizona for all Japanese American citizens during World War II. He and many other survivors of the camps were later compensated and given a formal apology from the American government.
Best remembered by the public for his role as the wise sensei Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid (1984) and its sequels.
Completed shooting scenes for two films before his death, but both were released years after the fact (Royal Kill (2009) in 2009, and Act Your Age (2011) in 2011).
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6633 Hollywood Blvd. on August 4, 1994.
He and his family were placed in an internment camp during World War II. Was given the name "Pat" by his priest.
Was a closet alcoholic. Heavy drinking, which his doctors urged him to stop, was the primary cause of his death.
The scene that sealed his nomination for best supporting actor in The Karate Kid (1984), in which Miyagi gets drunk and weeps over the death of his wife and child in the Manzanar Internment Camp, was nearly cut out of the film. The studio thought the scene was unnecessary and wanted it cut, but director John G. Avildsen argued that it was important to Miyagi's character and finally the studio relented and allowed the scene to be kept in. Also, during the casting of the film, the studio wanted legendary Japanese actor Toshirô Mifune to play Miyagi, but Avildsen and producer Jerry Weintraub thought Mifune's interpretation of the character was far too serious for what the film needed.
While he portrayed Mr. Miyagi, a Japanese immigrant who spoke (broken) English with a cement-thick Japanese accent, in real life Morita was an American citizen from birth who spoke with an American accent.
Buried at Palm Green Valley Memorial Park in Clark County, 6701 North Jones, Las Vegas, NV.
Was the subject of a popular Internet myth, that he owned a Japanese-style restaurant called Miyagi's on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, CA. However, according to Morita himself in an about.com interview, he had nothing to do with the restaurant.
Had two daughters with Yukiye Kitahara and one with Kathleen Yamachi.
Was the first American-born Asian nominated for an Academy Award. It was for his role of Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid (1984).
Diagnosed with spinal tuberculosis as a child and was told that he would never walk. Spent nine years in hospitals.
Was a huge fan of the Green Bay Packers football team.
Was often billed as the Hip Nip for his stand-up performances.
While performing as a stand-up comic, he was discovered by Redd Foxx. This led to several appearances as Ah Chew on Sanford and Son (1972).
Attended and graduated from Armijo High School in Fairfield, CA.
I've been working on my autobiography, just pecking away in longhand. The more you write, the more you remember. The more you remember, the more detail you recall. It's not all pleasant!
It's been a career filled with very low valleys and some wonderful, high peaks.
Only in America could you get away with the kind of comedy I did.
I'm in semi-retirement, but what am I going to retire to? I don't ride horses, I don't golf anymore. I shoot a game of pool every now and then.
I'm awkward at these things. Just being nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for [The Karate Kid (1984)] was a real surprise and I was a little uncomfortable.
The idea of a Japanese comedian was not only a rarity, it was non-existent.
I never was able to do karate. That's calling me a good actor. I act like I can do anything.
I didn't have a childhood.
A lot happens in 20 years.
I went from being an ailing child to a public enemy.
I began in an era where four-letter words were not allowed.
Hip Nip just sounds groovy. A drummer laid it on me.
I don't know of any other creature on earth other than man that will sit in a corner and cry because of some painful experience in the past.
You may have heard that back in the States there are some people who are smoking grass. I don't know how you feel, but it's sure easier than cutting the stuff.