Date of Birth
4 December 1961, Huntington, Long Island, New York, USA
Ralph George Macchio
5' 8½" (1.74 m)
Ralph George Macchio was born on November 4, 1961 in Huntington, Long Island, New York. He started out in various TV commercials in the late 1970s before appearing in the puerile comedy movie Up the Academy (1980), then a regular role in 1980 on the television series Eight Is Enough (1977) followed by a decent performance as teenager Johhny Cade in the The Outsiders (1983) based on the popular S.E. Hinton novel about troubled youth.
In 1984, Macchio scored the lead role in The Karate Kid (1984) directed by Rocky (1976) director John G. Avildsen. The film was a phenomenal success, being highly popular with adults and children alike. The movie spawned two equally popular sequels The Karate Kid Part II (1986) and The Karate Kid Part III (1989), both again starring Macchio and Pat Morita, and both directed by Avildsen.
Macchio also starred in the blues road movie Crossroads (1986), featured alongside Joe Pesci in My Cousin Vinny (1992) and, looking to toughen up his image, Macchio played a hit man in A Good Night to Die (2003). Arguably, movie audiences still identify Macchio very strongly with his Karate Kid role, but as his features have gained a more weathered, adult edge, he has found opportunities and positive reviews from appearances in stage productions showcasing his acting talent. It would be great to see this versatile actor score some broader and more challenging film roles.
Listed as one of twelve "Promising New Actors of 1984" in John Willis' Screen World, Vol. 36.
Graduated from Half Hollow Hills West High School in 1979.
His career started back in the late 1970s doing commercials for Bubble Yum and Dr. Pepper.
When Joel Siegel first did a review for The Karate Kid (1984), he pronounced his name "MA-Key-O" instead of "Ma-chee-o". The latter pronunciation was the way Ralph Macchio pronounced his name, but the former is the proper Italian pronunciation. Siegel was called in at 4:00am the day of his review's airing to correct the pronunciation. He later expressed annoyance at being called in at 4:00am in the morning because Macchio "didn't know how to pronounce his own name."
Daughter, Julia Macchio, was born in 1992, son, Daniel Macchio, was born in 1996.
Is a huge fan of songwriter/singer Bruce Springsteen.
Born in the same Long Island town as superstar Mariah Carey.
Once saved a baby porpoise that was beached on the shores of Malibu. When reporters tried to cover the story, he asked to remain anonymous.
In the movie Crossroads (1986), Macchio has a final "cutting-heads" guitar showdown with a demonic rock guitarist, played by real life guitar hero Steve Vai. Both Macchio and Vai were born and raised on Long Island.
Was #80 in VH1's 100 Greatest Teen Stars.
During Pat Morita's (his former The Karate Kid (1984) co-star) funeral procession, Macchio gave a brief eulogy and ended it as quoted, "Forever, my Sensei" to the mourners.
Some moviegoers who sat through the end credits for the Marvel comics features Thor and The Avengers noticed a "thank you" credit for a Ralph Macchio. However, this was not meant for the Karate Kid actor, but rather for a man with the same name who was a Marvel writer during the 1980s.
His father has half-Greek and half-Italian ancestry. His mother has Italian ancestry.
Competing on ABC's Dancing with the Stars (2005). [March 2011]
Acting protÃ©gÃ© of Pat Morita.
A fan of the hockey team New York Islanders.
Wife, Phyllis Fierro is a nurse practitioner.
Daniel LaRusso in the Karate Kid films
There's an audience out there for all these different types of things. Whether it's comedy, motion-picture drama, family movie or a cool, cutting-edge indie, it's nice to know that I can span all those different genres.
I've come up in the scripted world, and I have wished there were more time slots for us to tell compelling scripted stories and not fill the airwaves with a lot of fluff and tabloid entertainment.
I remember making the all-star team in Little League when I was around 11 years old. I was not a great athlete, but I loved it, so making starting second base in the all-star was great for me. I think someone must have been sick and they slotted me in.
Guys like Spielberg and Zemeckis and really anybody who is a storyteller-filmmaker today has studied Hitchcock and the way he visually tells a story. He was the master of suspense, certainly, but visually you would get a lot of information from what he would do with the camera and what he would allow you to see as the story was unfolding.
The truth is, you have a much richer life if you somehow lead one that you can hold together.
(2012, on the Beer League) That was a movie I turned down, like, three times. And then finally we just made it work. I got to play softball with Artie Lange, and he's so funny. I'm a big Artie fan, and I found him very likeable and loveable amid all his Howard Stern stories, and obviously, the demons he wrestles with and all the stuff that's happened with him in recent times. I haven't heard first-hand, but I've heard he's on the rebound, which is great to hear. So yeah, it was fun. We played softball in Jersey in a movie that was made for under $2 million or about that, and I got to be the voice of reason, the only guy in the group of Beer League softball players that orders egg whites and toast with no butter and grapefruit juice. I loved that scene in the diner. It's really funny. Again, it's at my expense, being the guy who's a little whipped by his wife, but he does provide the logic to all the crazy guys.
(2012, on My Cousin Vinny) We all knew it was a funny script, and obviously Joe Pesci was at a peak there, with Goodfellas and everything going on. And Marisa [Tomei]... Who knew she would be the spectacular talent she is? I mean, we knew when we saw her, but who knew that was going to be an Oscar-winning performance? And Fred Gwynne... The whole cast was great. I had the part that was the least funny, but I had to be in the movie. And I got to say "the two yoots." People yell that out to me. I could walk down the street today, and someone could yell that out. That, and "I shot the clerk." But it's great to have a couple of those. My Cousin Vinny, The Outsiders, The Karate Kid... When I look back at that time, any one of those, you'd be happy with. So I got pretty lucky.
(2012, on Crossroads) That film was arguably one of the better-looking films I've ever been in, and some of the coolest music ever, including probably one of the greatest guitar duels ever to come out of Hollywood, between Steve Vai and myself, although it wasn't me. I was faking it all the way. But it's still a very cool project. Joe Seneca was phenomenal in that movie, Jami Gertz. And I'll run into people left and right who'll go, "Dude, Crossroads!" I was introduced to Sean Lennon, who did the score for this one film I did, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Undead, and he just went on and on about how he tried to emulate the guitar duel from Crossroads, and all his guitar friends were obsessed with it... It was a Columbia film, and I was doing the Karate Kid films with them, and since that was pretty successful, they were trying to keep me in the family, at least for a little while. Our biggest concern was that it was still mentor-student, and we wanted to not necessarily stay on that path. But the film is very different in tone, and Walter Hill was a filmmaker who'd made his mark with The Warriors and 48 Hrs., and he was shooting Streets of Fire right before then. We just sort of hit it off and figured we'd go down this path with that film.
(2012, on the Karate Kid legacy) Daniel LaRusso, talk about an ingrained part. It becomes your alter ego: People think that's actually my name, they think I grew up in Newark, they think I actually know martial arts. I keep fooling them into believing it's true, but... That character, he's become part of popular culture, a relatable underdog that hopefully will continue to entertain generations. He really was the every-kid next door that we all believed we could be. He had no business winning anything, but in the end, he was victorious. It's a great coming-of-age story, and, well, what can I say? Almost 30 years later, and people are still reciting lines to me to this day.