The transcript below is from the video “The Cast Of The Karate Kid Is Unrecognizable Today” by Looper.

Looper (YouTube Channel on go-to source for the movies, TV shows and video games):

Whether they were Cobra Kai bullies or Daniel’s inner circle, each member of the Karate Kid cast gave something to the production that helped make it a classic. Here’s a look at what the stars of the film have been up to over the years, and what they look like today.

Looper (YouTube Channel on go-to source for the movies, TV shows and video games):

Ralph Macchio got steady work as a young actor before The Karate Kid, including a prominent recurring role on the sitcom ‘Eight Is Enough’. But 1983 and 1984 brought a powerful one-two punch that would cement him as an icon of ’80s pop culture. In ’83 he joined a fraternity of young actors in ‘The Outsiders’, and then in ’84 he was cast as Daniel LaRusso in the ‘Karate Kid’. The massive success of the latter film led to three sequels, with Macchio returning for two of them. Macchio continued to pick up regular acting work in the ’90s and 2000s, including roles in ‘My Cousin Vinny’ and ‘The Secret of NIMH 2’. He also landed a sweet TV gig in 2008 with a recurring role on ‘Ugly Betty’. Besides returning to the Karate Kid franchise for YouTube’s Cobra Kai series in 2018, Macchio’s also made time to poke fun at himself, playing versions of ‘Ralph Macchio’ on everything from ‘Entourage’ to ‘How I Met Your Mother’.

Barney in a Scene from “How I Met Your Mother”:

“Shut it, Ralph Macchio! Why don’t you go have a party with Luke Skywalker, and Harry Potter, and War Horse, and all the other movie bad guys and stop ruining mine!”

Looper (YouTube Channel on go-to source for the movies, TV shows and video games):

William Zabka’s first major screen acting work was an episode of ‘The Greatest American Hero’ in 1983. His second was the role of Johnny Lawrence in ‘The Karate Kid’, which cemented him as one of the best, and perhaps most misunderstood, villains of 1980s cinema. He went on to other major ’80s films like ‘National Lampoon’s European Vacation’ and ‘Back to School’. He also returned briefly as Johnny for ‘The Karate Kid Part II’. Zabka continued to work regularly throughout the ’90s and 2000s, particularly in action films like ‘Shootfighter: Fight to the Death’ and ‘Descent Into Darkness’. In 2013 he re-entered pop culture mythology in a major way by playing a version of himself in ‘How I Met Your Mother’. And in 2018 he returned as a down-on-his-luck Johnny Lawrence for Cobra Kai.

(Scene from Cobra Kai)

William Zabka in Cobra Kai:

“It was an illegal kick.”

Ralph Macchio:

“Oh. Illegal come on, really? Come on, what about that elbow to my knee?”

William Zabka in Cobra Kai:

“Yeah, I got a warning you got the win.”

Man 3:

“Woah, woah, woah. No fighting in the showroom, guys.”

Looper (YouTube Channel on go-to source for the movies, TV shows and video games):

“Of all the young actors in ‘The Karate Kid’, Elisabeth Shue is the one who arguably came away from the film with the highest-profile career. With only a handful of credits to her name when the film was made, its success granted her numerous opportunities in the coming decades. Unlike the other leads in the franchise, Shue did not return for any of the sequels. But she did go on to appear in other ’80s classics like ‘Adventures in Babysitting’, ‘Cocktail’, and as the recast role of Jennifer in ‘Back to the Future Part II’ and Part III. In the ’90s she gained acclaim as a major dramatic talent, earning an Oscar nomination for ‘Leaving Las Vega’s. These days, Shue continues to work regularly, most prominently in television. In 2012 she became one of the stars of CSI, and she’ll next be seen in Amazon’s original superhero series ‘The Boys’.

Looper (YouTube Channel on go-to source for the movies, TV shows and video games):

Randee Heller had nearly a decade of steady work in television to her name when she landed the role of Daniel’s mother Lucille in The Karate Kid and became one of pop culture’s most beloved movie moms. She returned for ‘The Karate Kid Part II’ and Part III, and in between she filled the ’80s with roles in a variety of TV series with names like ‘Mama Malone’ and ‘Boys Will Be Boys’. Heller has gone on to have an essentially unbroken streak of roles in major TV series, whether one-off guest appearances or recurring roles. ‘Mad Men’ and ‘Desperate Housewives’ are just two of the many shows she’s popped up in. In 2018, she reprised the role of Lucille on Cobra Kai.

Looper (YouTube Channel on go-to source for the movies, TV shows and video games):

Martin Kove had already been acting on screen for more than a decade by the time The Karate Kid came along. One of his most important breakout roles came in 1975, when he was cast as Nero the Hero in the Roger Corman-produced ‘Death Race 2000’. In The Karate Kid, he was flawless as John Kreese, the ruthless sensei of the Cobra Kai dojo. Kove returned as Kreese for both Part II and Part III, and he’s continued to act regularly in film and TV. In 2017, he appeared as ‘Master John’ on a Karate Kid tribute episode of the ’80s-set sitcom ‘The Goldbergs’, and then a year later, he reprised the role of John Kreese on Cobra Kai.

Looper (YouTube Channel on go-to source for the movies, TV shows and video games):

One of the things that makes The Karate Kid such an enduring classic is its willingness to add color to supporting characters, particularly Johnny’s friends at Cobra Kai. They’re never just one-dimensional goons, and that’s particularly true in the case of Ron Thomas as Bobby. Though he went along with what Johnny and Kreese asked of him, there was an always some reluctance to Bobby’s role in bullying Daniel. Thomas’ acting career is relatively sparse beyond The Karate Kid. But outside of the film world, he’s continued to pour his passion into martial arts. Today he’s a champion martial artist, martial arts instructor, author, and motivational speaker. He holds a sixth-degree black belt, and he’s a National Rank Examiner for the United States Judo Association, among many other accolades. He’s also a ten-year veteran of Universal Studios Hollywood stunt shows, including the ‘Conan Sword’ and ‘Sorcery Spectacular’ and the ‘Miami Vice Action Spectacular’.




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