Born June 28
By: Legacy Staff
20 days ago
Pat Morita got his big break playing diner owner Arnold on TV's "Happy Days," but it was as Mr. Miyagi that he found his greatest fame. The wise sensei of "The Karate Kid," who teaches his pupil karate via seemingly mundane tasks like waxing cars and painting a fence, became a cultural icon of the 1980s. Morita reprised his role in three sequels and took on dozens of other movie roles. He holds the distinction of starring on the first sitcom centered on an Asian-American, "Mr. T and Tina." We remember Morita's life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
1946: Gilda Radner, U.S. comedian and actress who was an original cast member of "Saturday Night Live," is born in Detroit, Michigan.
News of Radner's death broke on a Saturday morning while Steve Martin was preparing to host the season finale of "Saturday Night Live" that night. The news came as a shock to the cast and crew, and they decided to skip Martin's opening monologue in favor of a skit he and Radner had performed together in 1978. Martin is visibly shaken during the introduction, and bandleader G.E. Smith, Radner's former husband, can be seen in the background wearing a black armband. Read more
1937: Tom Magliozzi, U.S. radio personality who was a co-host of NPR's "Car Talk," is born in East Cambridge, Massachusetts.
"Car Talk" was the network's most popular entertainment program for years, reaching more than 4 million people a week on more than 600 radio stations across the country. The duo, which called themselves the "Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers," dispensed humor and advice about repairing cars. They ended their shows with a catchphrase — "Don't drive like my brother" — delivered in their signature Boston accents. Read more
1937: Richard Bright, U.S. actor who played Al Neri in "The Godfather" and its two sequels, is born in Brooklyn, New York.
1932: Pat Morita, U.S. actor known best for playing Mr. Miyagi in "The Karate Kid" film series, is born in Isleton, California.
Morita excelled in comedic roles like Arnold as well as in more dramatic ones, as when he played the mystical and wise karate teacher, Mr. Miyagi, in "The Karate Kid" and three sequels. It was a career that came only after hardship – Morita had tuberculosis as a young child and was often confined to a full-body cast. Later in his childhood, California-born Morita and his family were sent to a Japanese internment camp for the duration of World War II. The young talent rose above the trials of his youth to become first a successful stand-up comedian and then one of the most memorable and beloved Asian-American actors of all time. Read more
1902: Richard Rodgers, U.S. composer whose partnerships with Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein yielded hit musicals including "Pal Joey" and "The Sound of Music," is born in Queens, New York.
1703: John Wesley, English theologian who was a founder of Methodism, is born in Epworth, England.
1577: Peter Paul Rubens, Flemish painter known for his portraits and depictions of mythological subjects, is born in Siegen, Nassau-Dillenburg.
1491: Henry VIII, English monarch known for his six marriages and for establishing the Church of England as a separate entity from the Roman Catholic Church, is born in London, England.