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Japanese-American actor Pat Morita became a beloved pop culture figure with his turn as Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid movies.
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From 1996 to 1998, he played the grandfather of the title character in The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo. Morita also gave voice to the Chinese emperor in the animated Disney film Mulan (1998). He made guest appearances on such shows as The Hughleys and Baywatch.
Morita played the quintessential fussy clean-freak Felix Unger in a touring production of Neil Simon's comedic play The Odd Couple. He largely faded from the spotlight toward the end of his life, appearing in a few little-seen films. On June 24, 2005, Morita died of natural causes in Las Vegas, Nevada. He left behind his third wife Evelyn and three daughters from his first two marriages.
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Some of the most inspirational films in history are those about an educator's lasting impact on his or her students. For instance, in To Sir, with Love, Sidney Poitier stars as a newly hired London school teacher; Mr. Holland's Opus, starring Richard Dreyfuss, tells the story of an impassioned high school music teacher; Michelle Pfeiffer plays a marine turned educator of an inner-city school in Dangerous Minds; in Dead Poets Society, Robin Williams plays a motivational English professor; and Hilary Swank garnered fame for her role as a compassionate educator in Freedom Writers. For more on famous educators of the big-screen, visit Biography.com's group of Famous Movie Teachers.
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