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Asian-American Actor Pat Morita Dies At 73

Asian-American actor Pat Morita, whose Hollywood career spanned four decades, has died at the age of 73.

His wife tells the Associated Press that her husband died at home Thursday of natural causes.

Mr. Morita was among the first Asian-American actors to regularly appear in television and films. He is most famous for his role as a Japanese martial arts instructor in the 1984 movie "The Karate Kid," and as a restaurant owner in the hit 1970s American television show, "Happy Days."

His parents worked as migrant fruit pickers in California, where he was born in 1932. He spent time in a U.S. internment camp for Japanese-Americans during World War II, and later performed stand-up comedy at his family's restaurant.

At age 30, he entered show business full-time, getting small and sometimes demeaning roles. But through hundreds of appearances in films and TV shows, he became one of the most recognizable Asian-American actors.

Some information for this story provided by AP.