William Michael Zabka is an American actor, director, and producer. He was born on the 21st of October, 1965, in New York City. He is best known for his role in the 1984 film “The Karate Kid”. He is of Czech ancestry.
With an acting career reaching back to the 1980s, how rich is William Zabka? Sources estimate his net worth at $500 thousand.
William Zabka Net Worth $500,000
Zabka’s parents both worked in the entertainment industry. His mother was a production assistant, and his father was a writer, composer, and director, who worked on such programmes as “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson”. His first taste of acting came at the age of five, when he took part in a production of “The Three Little Pigs”, playing the Big Bad Wolf. Having featured in some television commercials for products such as Pepsi and Kool-Aid, Zabka’s debut movie role was in “The Karate Kid”, where he played the villain, high school bully Johnny Lawrence. He would later reprise the role in the 1986 sequel, “The Karate Kid Part II”. He has since described his relationship with fellow “Karate Kid” cast members as being fraternity-like.
Further movie roles followed, where Zabka would often play jocks or bullies, in films such as “National Lampoon’s European Vacation” in 1985, and “Back to School” in 1986. He switched back and forth between films and television, appearing in shows such as “E/R” in 1985, and as Scott McCall in “The Equalizer” between 1985-1989. More recently, he has had a recurring role on the sitcom “How I Met Your Mother”. His most recent acting credit was in “The Man in the Silo” (2016).
During the 1990s and 2000s, Zabka trained to become a filmmaker. In 2003, he wrote and produced his first short film, “Most”, which was directed by Bobby Garabedian. Shot in the Czech Republic and Poland, it tells the horrifying story of a railway bridge-operating father, whose son becomes trapped in the gears of the bridge. The father is forced to keep lowering the bridge, despite it killing his son, so that the train does not derail. It was nominated for several awards. It was an official selection at the Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for an Academy Award for “Best Short Film”.
In 2007, Zabka made his directorial debut with a music video for the band “No More Kings” The song was called “Sweep the Leg”. Zabka also starred in the video, parodying himself as still obsessed with his “Karate Kid” character, Johnny Lawrence. It also featured an appearance from his co-star, Ralph Macchio. He directed another music video three years later, for “Rascal Flatts”.
In his personal life, Zabka married his partner, Stacie, in 2008. He practices the Korean martial art of Tang Soo Do, and has achieved the rank of black belt. Despite often playing bullies, Zabka has spoken out publicly against them, stating at a Karate event in Maryland, “bullying is never cool – not when you can be the hero in your own story”.
His surname pronounced as "ZHAP-kuh". It means "little frog".
After 20 years, fans continue to recognize and address him as Johnny Lawrence from The Karate Kid (1984), which he loves... but not as much as he loves being an uncle to his sister Judy's daughter and son.
Has a sister, Judy.
Is an accomplished singer/musician/songwriter, as is his brother Guy.
Speaks Czech fluently.
His paternal grandfather was Czech, and his paternal grandmother was born in Nebraska, to Czech parents.
He was not at all experienced in martial arts prior to the filming of The Karate Kid (1984). He was actually an accomplished wrestler. However, in the years since, he has earned a black belt in Tang Soo Do.
Has essayed the "class bully" role in several memorable teen-oriented films
You know, all 'The Karate Kid' fans from the original are parents these days. I think it's a cool thing.
I didn't set out to be a villain in film. I'm a character actor, and if my first movie was a comedy, I could have played a geek just as well.
Strangely, when I was a kid, my first acting job, at 5 years old, was a performance of 'The Three Little Pigs.' They cast me as the Big Bad Wolf.
Sometimes you become a character, and sometimes the character becomes you.
Back when I was maybe 19, guys would go, 'I can kick your butt!' So I had a few showdowns. To my advantage, I learned martial arts, and what you really learn is not to fight.
Prior to 'The Karate Kid', I did commercials - Kool-Aid, Pepsi, milk - and I had always been cast as the all-American nice guy.
My training in martial arts was kind of a crash course in how to look like a black belt. I know the moves of a black belt - my kicks, and my stretches, and my punches and all that.