See the Cast of ‘The Karate Kid’ Then and Now
Released in 1984, The Karate Kid told the story of young Daniel, a teenager who learns the Japanese art of karate from his neighbor Mr. Miyagi (the late, great Pat Morita) to help defend himself from school bullies. Now, more than 30 years later, we take a look back at the cast of this film and see what they're up to these days.
Ralph Macchio, Daniel LaRusso
Then: Charlie Sheen was offered the role of Daniel LaRusso before it went to Ralph Macchio. In the film, Macchio plays a teen who transfers to a new school and gets picked on by a group of boys who are training in some rather unethical martial arts. At the time of filming, Macchio was actually 22 — he went on to star in two more Karate Kid films.
Now: Macchio appeared on an episode of How I Met Your Mother as himself, and had a small supporting role in Hitchcock. He stars on the new Karate Kid spinoff series, Cobra Kai
Elisabeth Shue, Ali Mills
Then: A little-known actress at the time, Elisabeth Shue won the part of Ali Mills, Daniel's love interest and girlfriend of that huge jerk, Johnny.
Now: In the ’90s, Shue tried to ditch her teen queen image by starring in the dark drama Leaving Las Vegas, for which she earned an Academy Award nomination. After being “reintroduced” in the comedy Hamlet II, she became a series regular on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. She currently appears on the Amazon Prime series The Boys.
William Zabka, Johnny Lawrence
Then: William Zabka made his big-screen debut in The Karate Kid as Johnny Lawrence, the lead member of Cobra Kai.
Now: Zabka is known for his villianous roles in ’80s films, and while he continues to act, he’s also writing, directing and producing. He earned an Academy Award nomination for writing and producing the film Most in 2004. Zabka appeared on How I Met Your Mother as himself, like Macchio, and had a small role in the ’80s throwback comedy Hot Tub Time Machine. He reprises his role of Johnny on Netflix’s Cobra Kai.
Ron Thomas, Bobby Brown
Then: Ron Thomas played Bobby Brown, a member of Cobra Kai. Thomas reprised his role in The Karate Kid Part II.
Now: Thomas left acting in 1987, but he made an appearance on the web comedy show Tosh.0 as “Bobby Brown” in 2011. He has also appeared in one episode of Cobra Kai as Bobby.
Chad McQueen, Dutch
Then: The son of acting legend Steve McQueen, Chad McQueen played Cobra Kai member Dutch in both The Karate Kid and The Karate Kid Part II.
Now: McQueen appeared in several films throughout the ’80s and ’90s, but his real passion was always race car driving. He had a solid career in racing and motocross throughout the ’00s, and now owns a custom motorcycle and race car company.
Tony O'Dell, Jimmy
Then: Dynasty star Tony O'Dell played preppy Jimmy in The Karate Kid before landing another uptight rich-kid role as Alan on Head of the Class.
Now: O'Dell hasn't been acting much, but in recent years he’s appeared on George Lopez and Shake it Up. In recent years he has worked as an acting coach on shows like Girl Meets World.
Martin Kove, John Kreese
Then: Rumor has it that Chuck Norris turned down the role of evil Cobra Kai leader John Kreese because it wasn't in keeping with Norris’ positive martial arts beliefs. Norris has said he was never offered the part, but if he had been, that likely would've been the reason he turned it down. Instead, the role went to Martin Kove, star of The Last House on the Left and Death Race 2000.
Now: Kove reprised his role in two more Karate Kid movies, and has appeared in films such as Black Sheep and Middle Men. After appearing in a cameo at the end of Season 1, Kove became a regular cast member on Season 2 of Cobra Kai.
Randee Heller, Lucille LaRusso
Then: Soap star Randee Heller played Lucille LaRusso, Daniel's doting mother.
Now: Heller has had a long and successful acting career. In recent years, she's appeared on The Mentalist and Desperate Housewives, but TV fans probably know her best as Don Draper’s ill-fated secretary, Miss Blankenship, on Mad Men. She’s made several guest appearances as Lucille on Cobra Kai.
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