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See the Cast of ‘The Karate Kid’ Then and Now

The Karate Kid
Columbia Pictures

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, almost 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

Columbia Pictures/Getty Images

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 most recently appeared on an episode of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ as himself, and had a small supporting role in ‘Hitchcock.’ 

Elisabeth Shue, Ali Mills

Karate Kid Elisabeth Shue
Columbia Pictures/Getty Images

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’s now a series regular on ‘CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,’ and has appeared in ‘House at the End of the Street’ and ‘Chasing Mavericks.’

William Zabka, Johnny Lawrence

Karate Kid William Zabka
Columbia Pictures/Getty Images

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.’

Ron Thomas, Bobby Brown

Karate Kid Ron Thomas
Columbia Pictures/Getty Images

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.

Chad McQueen, Dutch

Karate Kid Chad McQueen
Columbia Pictures/Getty Images

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

Karate Kid Tony ODell
Columbia Pictures/Getty Images

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.’

Martin Kove, John Kreese

Karate Kid Martin Kove
Columbia Pictures/Getty Images

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.’

Randee Heller, Lucille LaRusso

Karate Kid Randee Heller
Columbia Pictures/Getty Images

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.’

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