What the Hell Happened to Ralph Macchio?

ralph macchio

Ralph Macchio

In the 1980’s Ralph Macchio was a teen heartthrob.  He rose to prominence along with with other hot actors of his generation with roles in iconic movies that are still relevant today.  Macchio managed to avoid the Brat Pack label that doomed many of his contemporaries.  But he struggled with transitioning to adult roles.  In the early nineties, after a small role in one last memorable movie, Macchio faded into obscurity.

What the hell happened?

Like a lot of actors, Macchio started off doing commercials.  Here is the future Karate Kid singing and dancing about the “yummier” taste of new Bubble Yum in a 1980 TV spot.


Ralph Macchio – Up the Academy – 1980

Macchio made his movie debut in the teen comedy, Up the Academy.

Macchio played Chooch Bambalazi, one of four boys sent to a strict military academy.  The band of misfit brothers attempt to make the best of their situation with “zany” antics.

Up the Academy was Mad Magazine’s answer to National Lampoon’s Animal House.  In 1983, Mad Magazine editor explained how Up the Academy came about:

What happened is that we had a contract with Warner Brothers to put out a Mad movie. It’s like four years old now. They came up with a script that we didn’t like, and then they came up with a script using our scriptwriters that they didn’t like, but meanwhile they threw this script onto our desk… Although there were many things in it that I thought were offensive and should be removed, generally I liked the script. And I thought, ‘Well, in addition to a Mad movie, there’s nothing wrong with having something like Lampoon did with Animal HouseAnimal House was “Lampoon Presents” and really had nothing to do with the magazine, it was just using their name, and it was a good movie, and it was very successful, and it made Lampoon a lot of money. I guess. So we were going to do the same thing. “Mad Magazine Completely Disassociates Itself from Up the Academy“. But that was too long for them, they can’t think in that many words. They put the damn thing out without all the deletions they had promised to make, which means they’re liars.

Gaines sought to mitigate the damage Up the Academy inflicted on the Mad brand:

“There we were connected with it, and there wasn’t much we could do about it. I paid Warner Brothers 30 grand to take Mad’s name off for television. So for $30,000 we got out of being associated with it on Home Box Office. It won’t say “Mad Magazine Presents” and Alfred E. Neuman won’t be in it. And it was well worth $30,000.”

Mad and Warner Brothers were sister companies under the Time Warner umbrella.  After Gaines’ death in 1992, Time Warner took greater control of the magazine.  This allowed Warner Brothers to put all of the references to Mad back into future Up the Academy for home video release.


Ralph Macchio – Up the Academy – 1980

Gaines wasn’t the only one trying to distance himself from Up the Academy.  Actor Ron Leibman had his name completely removed from the credits and all promotional materials.  Macchio recalled Leibman’s frustration on the set:

“I don’t know why he did the movie. He was very good in it, but making that movie, it was a very weird dynamic. As I say, I was so young and green, and there was a lot of… It just wasn’t a happy set from the adult standpoint. Us kids, we had a good time, but there were problems with production, I think, on that movie.” 

Up the Academy was directed by Robert Downey, Sr. Yes, the future Iron Man is his son.  Robert Downey Jr had a small uncredited role in the film.  He was 13 years old at the time.  

The movie was not a hit with critics or audiences.  William Gaines sent hand-written apology letters to anyone who wrote the magazine to complain.  But Macchio credits his appearance in Up the Academy with furthering his career:

“That was my first part and my first big audition. I got the part, and I just overacted like I’m some young Italian Mafia guy. Thick accent. Hey, listen, it got me the next job! “

Macchio - Eight is Enough

Ralph Macchio – Eight Is Enough – 1980-1981

“The next job” was a regular role on the TV comedy-drama, Eight is Enough. Macchio joined the show for its final season from 1980-1981.

The show was based on the writings of syndicated newspaper columnist, Thomas Braden who wrote a book about raising his eight kids.  In the show, Dick Van Patten played Tom Bradford, a newspaper columnist with eight kids.  His wife, Joan, was played by actress Diana Hyland for the first four episodes.  Tragically, Hyland was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to be written out of the rest of the season.  She passed 12 days after the first episode aired.  She was romantically involved with John Travolta at the time.

The show’s second season acknowledged Hyland’s death by making Tom Bradford a widower.  In the first episode of the second season, he married a school teacher played by Betty Buckley.  Buckley was cast partially because she had played a similar role in the hit movie, Carrie.  The show made teen idols of its young stars  Grant Goodeve and Willie Aames.  Yes, Bibleman was a Tiger Beat sensation once upon a time.

As the young cast matured, Macchio was cast to keep the youth demographic.  He played Abby’s orphaned nephew who gets taken in by the Bradford clan.  Macchio recalled being cast on the show:

“I was coming right off Up The Academy, and I auditioned for that part, got the network test, and I was on the set of Eight Is Enough in, like, 24 hours. I was just like, “Wow!” And then the actors went on strike for three months that day. I’ll never forget that… I guess at the time, it was like, “Let’s get a Scott Baio type and infuse some youth into the cast of this show in its fifth season.” 

Like Goodeve and Aames before him, Macchio started showing up on the covers of teen magazines.

macchio - tiger beat

Ralph Macchio – Tiger Beat – 1981

Apparently this issue contained a sexy centerfold of Macchio!  I’m sorry.  Ralph.  No one on this cover has a last name except for Dukes of Hazzard star, John Schneider.  I wonder if that’s why he wasn’t subjected to a cheesy Christmas poze.

Unfortunately, nothing in Macchio’s giant Christmas stocking could save Eight is Enough.  It was cancelled at the end of the fifth season.  But Macchio’s teen heartthrob days were just getting started.

In 1982, Macchio worked in TV movies.  He appeared opposite Beau Bridges in Dangerous Company (see clip above).  He starred in a CBS Afternoon Playhouse entitled Journey to Survival.  And he appeared alongside his TV uncle, Dick Van Patten in the TV drama, High Powder.  High Powder also featured several of Van Patten’s own kids.

Next: The Outsiders and The Karate Kid


Posted on April 19, 2014, in Movies, What the Hell Happened?, WTHH Actor and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 59 Comments.

  1. Back in the 80’s I only owned several movies on VHS since they were so expensive back then, and Karate Kid was one of them. I lost count of how many times I watched that movie in my teens. I even liked parts 2 and 3. Just reading Macchio’s write-up and watching the trailer puts me in the mood to watch it again, it’ll always be one of the iconic films of the 80’s.

    Crossroads was surprisingly good, a shame it never found a larger audience. And of course My Cousin Vinny is a comedy classic. It’s interesting that even during his peak years he wasn’t especially prolific, he just didn’t do many movies in between the Karate Kid films. He doesn’t come off as someone obsessed with becoming a star or staying on the A list, otherwise I think we’d be seeing him in a lot more projects in those peak 80’s years.

    I loved seeing the early bubble gum commercial, I don’t know where you find these things Lebeau but they (along with those Tiger Beat covers) definately make these write-ups extra special.


    • It’s amazing what you can find if you do enough searches. The most time-consuming part of writing these articles is looking for all the tidbits.

      I was a big fan of the first Karate Kid. I was just the right age for it. Shue was probably my first movie crush. And I could definitely relate to the underdog story. I didn’t have it on VHS until much later. But I did have the novelization which I read over and over again.

      I agree with you about Macchio. Being a movie star just didn’t seem to be a priority for him.


  2. His Funny Or Die video is absolutely hilarious! I didn’t even know of it’s existence until you posted it. I have to thank you for posting it, I had to watch it a couple times because it’s so funny. The line from his wife made me laugh: “Are you sure? But cuddling is your favorite part.” And of course, the line that made me laugh most was “BANZI, MOTHER F***ER!” Comedy gold.


  3. I don’t think he was “gushing” about the Hitchcock role, he seemed excited but really aware of the fact that his role would be completely cut out of the movie. He seems like a nice guy, and is fun that he and William Zabka are buddies now!


  4. DANG, Lebeau, what a trip in the WAYBACK machine! I’d forgotten all about that Tiger Beat stuff! So funny – “none of these guys have last names” LOL!! The clip from the failed Baseball-beer whatever movie seemed like Macchio would have been the bright spot in a dull script which was evidently trying to be the next Bad News Bears. Once again this is a different sort of WTHH. This entry had a very interesting angle in that much of the subject’s own words about their career was featured. I enjoyed this aspect. You’ve often said that 80s movie stars make for interesting writeups, and I am starting to think there was something in 80s/90s Hollywood machine that produced many of these white hot star stories, that often didn’t last. Often I read one of these columns, I’m thinking that’s probably it, he’s covered them all. For the first time, this entry provoked a bunch of suggestions. Scott Baio, WTHH there? Kristy McNichol? Leif Garrett? Tatum O’Neal? I know Molly Ringwald has her own WTHH appearance already. You will never run out of material!


  5. You can also see The Karate Kd as a movie about an outsider that comes to town to wreck havoc on Johnny Lawrence. That Johnny character even says at the very beginning that he will quit alcohol because he wants to get it together in his senior year and every time Daniel has his butt kicked, he deserved it. End of rant 🙂


  6. jeffthewildman

    I saw the original Karate Kid during its theatrical run with my mom and dad.

    A few years ago when I heard a remake was on the way I was discussing it with my father. And he had an idea that I liked: that Ralph Macchio should return and be the one who trains Jaden.


  7. Retrospective / Review – Karate Kid Part III (1989) in HD:


    • Episode 153 – The Karate Kid, Part III:

      In this week’s episode, the gang enters the Under 18 All-Valley tournament with Ralph Macchio and Thomas Ian Griffith in the ridiculous sequel, The Karate Kid, Part III! Why did the filmmakers insist on making all the stories play back-to-back? How is John Kreese not in prison for joking out kids in parking lots? And what is with that platonic relationship crap, LaRusso? PLUS: Terry Silver takes over the crown as Greatest WHM Villain!

      The Karate Kid, Part III, stars Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, Robyn Lively, Martin Kove, Sean Kanan and Thomas Ian Griffith; directed by John Avildsen.


      • All you need to know about Ralph Macchio is that he is a few months older than Thomas Ian Griffith. But they play characters with maybe a 20 year age gap.

        Yeah- Macchio was going to have some problems getting non-Karate Kid gigs!!

        Contrary to some rumors- Macchio is NOT older than Pat Morita.


  8. Sitcoms Online Message Boards – Forums > 1970s Sitcoms > Eight Is Enough > What the Hell Happened to Ralph Macchio?

    Forum Veteran
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    Originally Posted by Wawwie
    I think Ralph Macchio is a nice guy. He’s one of the few actors who has not fallen victim to a life of scandal. So what’s the problem?
    Leave the guy alone.

    Agreed and this one of the most useless blogs I’ve ever read.


  9. You’re ticking all my boxes Lebeau, Michael Biehn and Ralph Macchio! Keep up the good work!


  10. Why didn’t Macchio’s career take off more after Karate Kid?

    I would argue the point that immediately after the breakout success of Karate Kid in summer of ’84, Macchio didn’t make much of an attempt to capitalize on it. He did only one theatrical movie in the two years in between Karate Kid 1 & 2, then he only did one theatrical movie in the three years in between Karate Kid 2 & 3. Now, who knows if he was just turning down crap scripts or what, but that lack of productivity in the years between Karate Kid movies left him typecast to the public as Danny Laruso; people weren’t seeing him as anyone else (though again, he was terriffic in Crossroads and its unfortunate that it flopped). That may not explain it completely, but at least partially.


  11. Wow…Ralph Macchio. First off, “I’m a big fan of “The Outsiders”; read the book without prompting, have the super duper DVD version or whatever, and have had tons of discussions about it. His Johnny character was the pivotal figure in the story (by the way, Dallas is winning in a runaway in the poll posted. I voted for the soulful Ponyboy. but this shouldn’t be about “The Outsiders” now…).
    What can I say about ” The Katate Kid”? Another film I viewed more times than I can remember, and like “The Outsiders” I still integrate certain quotes from thefilm in my daily life.
    I’m okay with “Teachers” because I like JoBeth Williams from “Poltergeist ” (who had short shorts and looked like a doll?), but overall it could’ve been better.
    Back in the late 1990’s I purchased “Crossroads” for a friend (found it at one of those obscure video rental stores on the clearance rack) because he think Steve Vai is the best guitarist of all-time and talked endlessly the that film because of it. Boy, I got lucky with that find (I also picked up “Head Office” that day, but a nasty VCR made my time with it short).
    Finally, Ralph Macchio wrote the “Point After” column last year for Sports Illustraated’s annual issue of “Where Are They Now?” (the title of the article is “Where I Am Now”) I reread it after reading this segment here, and I think it’s a nice read.
    Whew! I’m likely never write a post on this site again (I love to write, I just like to keep it short), but I just had to share.


  12. I meant I’m like to never write a post THAT LONG on this site again (I really dropped the ball on that last line overall). Well, since I’m still here…
    I’m guessing how Hollywood and how it’s game works caught him by surprise at first, and by the time he figured it out he wasn’t interested in playing that game. Also, “The Karate Kid” was a pop culture whirlwind anyway. Let’s put it this way: in the 1985 film “Just One of the Guys” (I think it’s a gem of a film) the Sherilynn Fenn character mentions how the Joyce Hyser character (incognito as a boy) “looks like The Karate Kid”. I mean, it’s just one of those films.


  13. The Mother Brain Files Underrated Actors Special: One Hit Wonders:

    1. Ralph Macchio

    Macchio made an impact early on with his tragic portrayal of Johnny Cade in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Outsiders which introduced the world to the elite leading men of Hollywood for the 1980s. Then it was 1984’s The Karate Kid that made him a major teen idol and role model for kids around the world. As Daniel LaRusso, he captured that new kid in town blues mixed with the need for a father figure to fulfill a missing void in his life through Mr. Miyagi. The film remains a staple for many of those who were kids of the 80s. Despite the film and its sequels’ successes, Macchio found himself typecast in trouble teen apprentice roles in films such as Teachers (Nick Nolte), Crossroads (Joe Seneca) and Distant Thunder (John Lithgow) and his slow aging prevented him from making a transition to more adult roles (save for My Cousin Vinny). Macchio still remains active in independent films, television, and the occasional reality show like Dancing With the Stars.


    • The Mother Brain Files Underrated Actors Special: Ralph Macchio:

      In an industry that is driven by youth, many child and teen stars in Hollywood succeed because of their charm and their looks. But once they reach adulthood, that appeal wears off and only a rare few (i.e. Leonardo DiCaprio) evolve into bonafide movie stars. Yet, there are those like Ralph Macchio who struggle to be taken seriously because their boyish looks don’t change much. The star of the original Karate Kid films had to prove his worth as an actor outside the series while Hollywood tried to pigeonhole him in teen roles. Being that this writeup coincides with Macchio’s appearance on the current new season of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, I will look at not only what made Macchio so special in the original 1984 Karate Kid movie but also take a look at the other films that are often overlooked.

      The Long Island native who was born in 1961 got his start in TV commercials for Bubble Yum and Dr. Pepper. At age 18, Macchio landed his first movie role in the Animal House-meets-Police Academy comedy, Up the Academy, which was directed by Robert Downey Jr.’s father (and the future Iron Man star also had a brief role in it). But Macchio first came to national attention in 1980 as Jeremy Andretti on the controversial ABC dramedy, Eight is Enough. The troubled young kid is taken custody by the Bradford family following the death of Abby Bradford’s sister who was Jeremy’s mother. Macchio’s character goes though all kinds of craziness during the show from nearly falling into a bad crowd to girl problems to even finding a skull in a garden. Macchio’s stint on the show, however, was short lived as the series ended in May 1981.

      In 1983, Macchio appeared in the film that brought good luck to his career as well as his castmates. Francis Ford Coppola’s adaptation of S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders would become famous for its cast of 60s-born actors who went on to become the megastars of the 80s and early 90s: C. Thomas Howell, Matt Dillion, Rob Lowe, the late great Patrick Swayze, Emilio Estevez, Tom Cruise, and Diane Lane. But Macchio would arguably be the heart of the picture in his portrayal of the Tulsa Greaser, Johnny Cade. For a film that depicted the macho men in the 1960s, Macchio and co-star Howell as Ponyboy Curtis broke the stereotype of a greaser and create many touching moments in the film that punctuate their gentle side as well as their yearning for survival in an unbalanced world. The audience immediately roots for Macchio’s character even when he kills a member of the Socs to save Ponyboy from a brutal beating. But it was Macchio’s death scene in the hospital where he tell’s Ponyboy to “stay gold” that’s really a true tearjerker.

      If The Outsiders had Macchio play the tragic underdog, The Karate Kid would be his portrayal of a triumphant one. The general plot appears to be paper thin at first: Daniel LaRusso and his single mom move from New Jersey to L.A. where Daniel gets bullied by a gang of karate students because of his interest in a girl and he winds up learning karate from an unlikely sensei. But it’s so much more than that. While Macchio naturally plays the bullied teen who gains self-confidence, it’s the father-son dynamic between him and Pat Morita as the iconic Mr. Miyagi that becomes the heart of the picture. Their chemistry on screen is so wonderful and their performances elevate the story from a by the numbers underdog movie to a movie about a boy learning to train and balance his inner spirit through martial arts. The little karate movie from Rocky director, John Avildsen, became one of the top five highest grossing films of 1984, spawned 3 sequels and a 2010 remake, toys, video games, and a saturday morning cartoon. Macchio would become an 80s icon.

      Hot off the success of Karate Kid, Macchio was immediately in demand. He would appear in the made-for-TV movie, Three Wishes of Billy Grier, as a teenager with a rare degenerative disease that speeds up the aging process and looks to make the most out of his life in the time he has left. On the big screen, Macchio played another troubled teen in Arthur Hiller’s high school satire, Teachers. In the film about the flawed public school system, Macchio stood out as Eddie Pilikian, a class-cutting troublemaker from a bad home who gets taken under the wing of a veteran Social Studies teacher played by Nick Nolte who inspires him to become a better student. Macchio would also rehash his Karate Kid persona in Walter Hill’s blues drama, Crossroads (not the 2002 Brittney Spears flick) where he plays a gifted guitar player who pairs up with a legendary blues musician played by Joe Seneca. Together, they seek out a missing Robert Johnson song which leads to a final “battle” in Mississippi where Macchio has to save Seneca’s soul from the devil by performing a guitar duel against the devil’s ringer guitarist played by the legendary Steve Vai.

      As Macchio began to push into his 30s, good roles were getting harder to come by. It was not helping that even as he was getting older and slightly heavier, Macchio could not shake his boyish looks and his face would be slapped on the covers of Tiger Beat and 16 magazine on a routine basis. He would still be playing the Karate Kid role even after getting married and having children while bold acting efforts in films like Distant Thunder and The Last P.O.W.: The Bobby Garwood Story went completely unnoticed.

      After the Karate Kid franchise initially ended on a whimper following the disappointing release of Karate Kid Part III in 1989, Macchio would not have another hit movie until he was cast as a wrongly convicted killer being defended by his goomba cousin in Joe Pesci’s smash hit comedy, My Cousin Vinny. While the film placed most emphasis on the title character and his Brooklyn girlfriend played by Marisa Tomei in her Oscar winning performance, the casting of Macchio was no accident. Director Jonathan Lynn claims in the DVD commentary that he wanted Vinny’s cousin to be played by someone that the audience would care about instantly and Macchio was the man. Even though he looked noticeably older with little facial hair, audiences could still not shake the Daniel LaRusso image by looking at him.

      Macchio would work very low-key throughout the rest of the 1990s, appearing sporadically in low budget movies and off-broadway productions. In 2002, he made his writer/director debut with the short film, Love Thy Brother, which played at the Sundance Film Festival. The following year, Macchio took a bold turn in teaming up with Ally Sheedy as a pair of sibling assassins in A Good Night to Die. The Pulp Fiction-style crime drama was a dramatic turn for Macchio who was not only playing a killer but also had the kind of chemistry with Sheedy that had subtle hints of incest. There was also the baseball comedy, Beer League, where he was paired up with Artie Lange as part of a loser ball team struggling to not get kicked out of their local league.

      In more recent years, Macchio has been able to poke fun at himself with such ease. He would get back in the public spotlight by playing himself on such hit shows as Entourage and Head Case. He also appears briefly in the music video to No More Kings’s Karate Kid tribute song, Sweep the Leg, which was directed by William Zabka who played Cobra Kai leader Johnny Lawrence in the original film. Macchio would really turn heads when he appeared in the Funny or Die online short, “Wax On, F*ck Off”, where he pokes fun at his squeaky clean image by attempting to turn to drugs, alcohol, and beating up random people with karate moves all in an attempt to resurrect his career. The highlight of the short was Macchio reacting to a movie poster of the Karate Kid remake. In reality, despite giving his blessing to the new star Jaden Smith, Macchio has gone out publicly in expressing the lack of magic the remake has in contrast to the original film.

      Turning 50 later this year, it’s very difficult to believe that Macchio never became a bigger star past the Karate Kid movies. Unfortunately, his boyish looks worked against him over time. But he is still loved by audiences all over the world and his quality as an actor is so special and controversy-free. One can only hope that his run on Dancing with the Stars will re-energize his career and bring about some new opportunities to freshen up his career. If guys like Eric Stoltz can shred their boyish looks to take on new challenges as actors, Macchio can definitely do the same and be equally as dynamite.


  14. Playing Daniel LaRusso stigmatized him. I loved the Karate Kid I & II as a kid, but now I can’t get into them anymore. Age should not have had anything to do with it; he deserved to have a bigger career. I wish you would also do a blog on Mark Hamill.


    • If Hamill wasn’t about to be in Star Wars 7 I would probably go ahead and write him up. Let’s see how SW 7 plays out.


      • Honestly, it’d be worth seeing a Mark Hamill write-up just for your comments on Corvette Summer alone.


        • lol – I have never seen it. I just know about the accident. I will have to write him up someday. You would think the lead actor of the Star Wars trilogy might have gone on to bigger things than voicing the Joker.


  15. Lebeau, do you think Ralph can make a comeback? I’m hopeful. He’s so good at portraying innocence and fragility. I thought he was heartbreaking in that listless comedy Naked in New York as the lonely, sexually confused friend. It would be great to see more of him.


    • I think Macchio is going to work as much as he wants to. I don’t expect him to get back into the mainstream spotlight. He’s been out of it for so, so long. But he’ll still pop up in things.


  16. Maybe he’ll got offered a TV show one of these days.


  17. I love Ralph. It took him 25 years to finally look like a grown man. LOL. Even so, he’s what, 52 or something? He looks 35. He was a cutie then and he’s a hunk now.


  18. Macchio was 23 during the first movie, even though he looker around 14. Zappa, who looked a lot older, was only 19, and Shue was 21. She looked like she could’ve been Macchio’s babysitter, even though he was two years older.


  19. I belong to the composition; it’s the one cult I’m glad I joined. Hail, hail, brother C.S. Lewis!


  20. Macchio appears on WatchMojo’s Top 10 Forgotten Young Stars


  21. Nostalgia Critic Real Thoughts On: The Secret of NIMH 2


  22. Category: Hidden Treasures Created on Saturday, 10 December 2011 05:31 Written by George Rother

    Much like the missing song that figures prominently into the story, Crossroads is one of the forgotten movies of the 80s that’s waiting to be found. Hardly anyone remembers this movie, it didn’t make an impression on audiences when it was released (March 14, 1986), it only did $5.8 million at the box office. It’s actually a pretty good movie, it’s a music-themed drama with some supernatural elements thrown into the mix. The movie opens with a young black man standing at a rural crossroads in Mississippi, a car pulls up in front of him and the driver presents the man with a contract which he signs. He’s just made a deal with the devil, literally.

    In exchange for his soul, the young man will receive great music abilities (on the harmonica). Cut to present day, Eugene Martone (Macchio, The Karate Kid) is an excellent classical guitar player studying at the Julliard School for Performing Arts (New York City). He’s so talented that he was allowed to finish high school early so he could study at the famous school. He’s also very interested in the blues and finding a legendary missing song by famed blues musician Robert Johnson. He finds out that one of Johnson’s old band mates, Willie Brown (Seneca, The Verdict) now resides at a nearby, minimum security hospital and he tries to get in to talk to him. Brown refuses the visit, so Eugene takes a part-time janitorial job at the hospital so he can ask Brown about the missing song. Initially, he denies that he’s the same Willie Brown that performed with Johnson, but he admits his identity after hearing Eugene play blues music on his guitar. He promises give Eugene the song if he breaks him out of the facility and helps him get to Mississippi where he has some unfinished business. Eugene only has enough money to get them to Memphis, so the two guys start “hoboing” to their destination. This means a road trip where the guys do a lot of walking and hitchhiking, along the way, the sheltered teenager learns a few things about life and the true essence of the blues. At one point, they pick up Frances (Gertz, Renegades), a teenage runaway, and she has a brief relationship with Eugene. It all ends with a major guitar duel between Eugene and metal-blues master Jack Butler (Vai), one of the disciples of “Scratch” (Judd, Fight for Your Life). If he wins, Scratch will tear up the contract and give back Willie’s soul. If he loses, then Scratch gets both souls.

    Director Walter Hill (The Warriors, 48 Hrs.) is in good form with Crossroads, it almost makes you forget about Brewster’s Millions, the lame comedy that he directed the previous summer. For one thing, the story revolves around a real life figure and the actual Faust-like myth attached to his name. The life of Robert Johnson is poorly documented, so nobody knows a lot about him, but his music has influenced generations of musicians. Hill takes the myth and builds a story around it, but he doesn’t overplay the Satanic aspects of the story. When any filmmaker does this kind of movie, there’s always the danger of making it over the top and including a lot of gross special effects. Hill chooses to keep things low-key, when Scratch appears, it’s not in a puff of smoke or in a blinding flash of fire. He simply shows up, casually walking down the road. When the guys are magically transported to the guitar duel, it’s not accompanied by crazy visuals and special effects, it just happens. I think that’s the best way to approach this material, downplay the supernatural aspects and focus more on the terrific music. At one point Willie (aka Blind Dog) and Eugene (aka Lightning Boy) play a gig at a “juke joint”, where the patrons stare in disbelief at the white man who dares enter the place. Ry Cooder (Streets of Fire) provides an excellent score and the final guitar duel is nothing short of amazing. The movie is full of authentic blues music, that’s the way it should be. As the guys head to Mississippi, they encounter racism by a sleazy bar/motel owner and harassment by cops in a rural town, who steal all of their money before sending them on their way. I thought it was interesting that the sheriff was a black man, one would expect a big-bellied redneck who enjoys giving minorities a hard time.

    Ralph Macchio gives a decent performance in a role that’s very similar to his character in The Karate Kid, both characters are teenagers being mentored by old men and both of the characters form a bond with their respective mentors/teachers. Joe Seneca is wonderful as the old blues musician who can still play a harmonica like nobody else. He keeps telling Eugene if he wants to be a bluesman, he has to experience real heartache and pain, that’s the only way he’ll understand what the blues are really about. After Frances takes off, Eugene understands what the blues are really about and his music improves because of the heart he puts into it. Joe Morton (Terminator 2: Judgment Day) shows up as Scratch’s assistant, his modes of transportation might change over the years but he never gets any older. It must be one of the fringe benefits of being Satan’s personal assistant, but how does somebody get a job like this? I’m pretty sure that he didn’t read about it in the want ads. As Scratch, Judd gives his second and final film appearance, he plays the devil as a mysterious, sinister figure and it works. Crossroads is not a horror movie and as such, there’s no need for any wild activity. The screenplay was written by John Fusco, a blues musician attending New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and he wrote the screenplay for a class assignment. It ended up winning first prize in the national FOCUS (Films Of College and University Students) before being sold to Columbia Pictures. The story works because the screenwriter knows the subject first hand, that’s always helpful. Crossroads is an entertaining little movie that should have gotten more recognition than it did. It’s a cool homage to a music genre that’s been around for about 100 years, it was the primary influence for rock-and-roll music which branched off into many genres of music, so you could arguably say that the roots of most (if not all) of your favorite type of music can be found in the blues. Oh yeah, I almost forget, don’t confuse this movie with the 2002 movie of the same name. I don’t think that anybody wants to see Britney Spears try to act, at this point, nobody even wants to hear her music anymore. If you like blues music, you’ll want to check out this movie.


    • What the cast of My Cousin Vinny looks like today

      Ralph Macchio

      Prior to My Cousin Vinny, Ralph Macchio was best known as the star of The Karate Kid and its first two sequels, in which he plays a teen named Daniel LaRusso who learns karate as a way of dealing with bullying. Immediately after Vinny, Macchio appeared in the indie film Naked in New York, in which he shared a gay kiss with Eric Stoltz. Unfortunately, Macchio never quite made the transition from teen to adult actor, and his career floundered in the decades to come. He did play a recurring role as Archie Rodriguez on the TV series Ugly Betty, and more recently has begun appearing as a cop on HBO’s series The Deuce. The latter is a sprawling David Simon drama in the style of The Wire, so it’s entirely likely that Macchio’s part will grow over time.


  23. Can someone just tell me wether or not Ralph macchio is still alive?


  24. VictoriaVirgin

    I would like to know whether Ralph Macchio actually played the final guitar piece in the duel in Crossroads between him and Steve Vai….


    • No; I guess he mimicked the chords correctly, but he wasn’t creating any sound himself there.


    • Arlen Roth was Ralph Macchio’s guitar tutor for the film and played many of his pieces. According to Roth on his website, the final duel was arranged from parts played by him, Steve Vai, Ry Cooder, and Bill Kanengiser, who did the classical playing throughout the film.


  25. What is Ralph Macchio up to now?

    In 1984, Ralph Macchio karate-kicked down the door to our hearts in retro sweats and an artfully tied headband. The star of the original Karate Kid became an instant teen icon, making multiple Tiger Beat cover appearances and reprising his role as Daniel LaRusso in its two sequels. But despite being one of the hottest young actors to emerge in the ’80s, by the mid-1990s, Macchio had all but vanished from Hollywood. Where is he now, and what is he up to?


    • What Happened to Ralph Macchio – News & Updates

      Ralph Macchio is an American actor who is best known for his role in the Karate Kid film series. A tap dancer since a young age, his performing talents were first discovered by an agent at a local dance recital when he was sixteen years old. Eventually appearing in a number of commercials during his late teen years, he later made his television debut in the 1980 comedy series, Up the Academy at the age of nineteen; soon afterwards, he was cast as a recurring character in the ABC drama, Eight is Enough. Landing various minor parts in multiple TV shows over the next few years, he finally received a break in his career when he was given a starring role in the martial arts film, The Karate Kid in 1984. Critically acclaimed, the movie eventually spawned three singles, all of which had Macchio reprising his role as protagonist Daniel LaRusso.

      Over the next few decades, the actor continued to appear in a series of films and television shows. Since he stood in front of the cameras for the first time in the 1980’s, Macchio has appeared in well over forty different projects; some of his stand out roles include that of Bill Gambini in the comedy, My Cousin Vinny (1992), Johnny Cade in the drama film, The Outsiders (1983) and Archie Rodriguez in the ABC series, Ugly Betty (2008). Not too long after his debut, he won a Bravo Otto Award for “Best Actor” in 1986; from there his collection of awards has only grown biggerーin the early 2000’s, he received two Long Island International Film Awards, and an Audience Choice Award at the Stony Brook Film Festival. We also can’t forget about the Young Artist Award that he received a nomination for back in 1982.

      While Macchio is an actor first and foremost, he has also worked as an executive producer in a small handful of television series including The Ties That Bind (1994), American Gypsies (2012) and Across Grace Alley (2013). No stranger to being on stage, he has been featured on several TV talk shows over the years such as The Rosie O’Donnell Show (1997), Howard Stern on Demand (2006), Jimmy Kimmel Live! (2005), The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (1994) and The Wendy Williams Show (2011). In 2011, he even broke into the realm of reality television, appearing in the dance competition, Dancing with the Stars (2011) where he competed as a contestant.

      So what has the actor been up to as of late? What new endeavors have the star taken on these past few years? What happened to Ralph Macchio? Where is he now in 2016?


    • The Real Reason We Don’t Hear from Ralph Macchio Anymore


  26. Ralph Macchio joins Psych: The Movie

    Officer Nick Conforth will be returning for Psych: The Movie. Entertainment Weekly reports that Karate Kid star Ralph Macchio is set to reprise his role in the upcoming holiday film, with the character playing an important role in the central mystery.

    The Psych movie will reunite Shawn (James Roday) and Gus (Dule Hill) after three years off the air, with the well-loved show concluding its eight season run on USA in 2014. The holiday movie will see Shawn and Gus bringing their business back to Santa Barbara after a mysterious assailant targets one of the SBPD’s own. In addition to Roday and Hill, Timothy Omundson, Maggie Lawson, Corbin Bernsen, Cary Elwes, and Kirsten Nelson are all expected to return. Other new cast members include Chuck’s Zachary Levi as a mysterious and dashing villain called the Thin White Duke and Ballers’ Jazmyn Simon as a new love interest for Gus.

    Macchio appeared on two episodes of Psych, the first as nervous Officer Conforth and the second as a new character in the show’s redo episode “Remake A.K.A. Cloudy… With a Chance of Improvement.” On both occasions, show creator Steve Franks, who directed the movie, didn’t get a chance to meet him, so he definitely wanted to see him come back. “[Conforth is] actually a big catalyst to get our investigation going,” Franks said. “He holds one of the key pieces of information. He actually functioned perfectly within the framework of the story and that was kind of the key [to bringing him back].” 

    The movie, which is co-written by Franks and Roday, will premiere on USA this December. While we wait, read up on the untold truth of Psych.


  27. The Karate Kid (1984) – Retrospective / Review


    • The untold truth of The Karate Kid

      Directed by John G. Avildsen (the Oscar-winning filmmaker behind Rocky), The Karate Kid is one of the best sports movies ever made. Starring Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita, this feel-good flick focuses on a bullied high school kid who learns martial arts from an elderly Japanese master, and the result is pure 1980s magic. Over 30 years later, people are still watching—and quoting—this movie, so perhaps it’s time to put down those chopsticks and leave that fly alone as we look behind-the-scenes and find out why The Karate Kid is the best around.


  28. Ralph Macchio to star in Karate Kid TV series

    Read More:

    Julia Bianco @jewliabianco 10 hours ago
    Karate Kid stars Ralph Macchio and William Zabka are going back to the dojo. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the pair have signed on to star in a 10-episode half-hour comedy series about their famed characters for YouTube Red. The series, which landed at YouTube Red after a competitive bidding situation between Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and AMC, will be titled Cobra Kai.

    Macchio played the heroic underdog Daniel in the original 1984 film and its sequels, while Zabka played his rival Johnny. The new series will take place 30 years after the fateful events of the 1984 All Valley Karate Tournament and will see Johnny, looking for redemption, reopening the Cobra Kai dojo and therefore reigniting his rivalry with Daniel. While Daniel is now successful in life, he is still struggling to find balance without the help of his mentor Mr. Miyagi, who was played in the film by the late Pat Morita. The pair will address their past and present frustrations through, of course, karate.

    Hot Tub Time Machine’s Josh Heald will write the script alongside Harold and Kumar duo Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg. All three will executive produce alongside Macchio and Zabka, with Hurwitz and Schlossberg also serving as directors. Will Smith, who produced the 2010 remake which his son also starred in, will also be involved with the series through his Sony Pictures Television-based Overlook Entertainment, whose James Lassiter and Caleeb Pinkett will executive produce.

    “Like everyone who grew up in the 1980s, the three of us are enormous fans of The Karate Kid,” Heald, Hurwitz and Schlossberg said in a joint statement. “Cobra Kai will be a true continuation of the original films— packed with comedy, heart and thrilling fight scenes. We can’t wait to reignite the LaRusso-Lawrence rivalry, and we’re thankful to our partners at YouTube Red, Sony Pictures Television, and Overbrook for their shared enthusiasm in making our dream project a reality.”

    According to THR, Macchio and Zabka pitched the project all over Hollywood, with YouTube global head of originals Susanne Daniels saying that they were “enthusiastic and fun” in their pitch meeting. “I don’t know whether they had rehearsed it, but they played the parts of their characters well,” she said. “More than anything, it was just amazing to see them together again.” Daniels added that “all the elements you look for in a strong show,” including heart, laughs, and drama, were present in the pitch.

    Daniels also explained why they decided to change the name from The Karate Kid to Cobra Kai, saying that there were a number of reasons. “If The Karate Kid wad Daniel’s story, Cobra Kai is equal parts Daniel and Johnny’s story,” she said. “Also because this is a series and not a movie, we really wanted to reimagine how the story was told. Changing the name made sense as part of that.” 

    The series is set to debut in 2018. While we ponder the possibilities for the characters’ futures, see the untold truth of The Karate Kid.



      Earlier today, Entertainment Weekly revealed an exclusive behind-the-scenes photo of THE KARATE KID stars Ralph Macchio and William Zabka skaing hands while on the set of COBRA KAI, YouTube Red’s upcoming sequel series to the 1984 film. Macchio, who played Daniel LaRusso for the series, and Zabka, who showed no mercy as LaRusso’s arch-enemy, Johnny Lawrence, will reprise their roles for the forthcoming project.

      In addition to the photo, EW also shared that Xolo Maridueña (PARENTHOOD), Mary Mouser (FREAKISH), Tanner Buchanan (DESIGNATED SURVIVOR), and Courtney Henggeler (MOM) will also star alongside guest-star Ed Asner. The show will take place 30 years after the All Valley Karate Tournament that was featured during the final act of the 1984 original film.

      In what we know so far, the half-hour-long program will find both Daniel and Johnny leading very different lives, since the crane-kick-heard-round-the-world dropped the surly, blonde Cobra Kai student like a sack of discarded dirt. For COBRA KAI, Daniel is living the good life as a family man and proud owner of the No. 1 car dealership in the Valley, while Johnny is painted as a heavy drinker and short-fused antihero living in Reseda, taking on odd jobs just to make ends meet. Although their lives are very different, the two rivals soon find themselves re-entering each other’s lives, which inspires Johnny to unearth his Cobra Kai roots and reopen the morally-corrupt karate dojo.

      Courtney Henggeler will appear on the show as Daniel’s wife and business partner, Amanda, the rock of the LaRusso family. Mary Mouser will play Samantha, Daniel and Amanda’s spitfire daughter, who is quickly discovering the harsh realities of being a “good girl” highschool student. Xolo Maridueña will arrive on the set of COBRA KAI as Miguel Diaz, a boy raised who is relentlessly bullied by his peers and raised by a single mother from Ecuador. As you can guess, Diaz eventually joins the Cobra Kai dojo and falls prey to Lawrence’s under-handed instruction.

      Meanwhile, Tanner Buchanan will step into the role of Robby Keene, Johnny’s street-smart son. Eager to show the world that he’s nothing like his Dad, Robby tries his damnedest to escape the shadow cast by his father’s reputation, though he might stumble along the way. Lastly, Ed Asner will play Johnny’s reluctant stepfather Sid Weinberg, an old-school, hard-lined, former studio mogul, who is sick to death of his stepson’s many failures.

      Whoa. Maybe they should have titled this thing EVERYBODY HATES JOHHNY, or SWEEP THE LEG: A JOHNNY LAWRENCE STORY. The 10-episode series is expected to debut on YouTube Red in 2018.


    • Watch The Karate Kid stars Ralph Macchio and William Zabka reunited in the trailer for Cobra Kai

      Here’s the first glimpse of the YouTube Red sequel series to The Karate Kid.


  29. Ralph Macchio Guest Stars on “Kevin Can Wait”

    by Maggie Gorman
    Feb. 9, 2018

    TVLine has learned that The Karate Kid star Ralph Macchio will guest-star on two episodes of CBS’s “Kevin Can Wait”.

    He will play the president of a company buying a property in Long Island with the intention of turning it into a parking lot.


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