William Michael Zabka is an American actor, screenwriter, director and producer. He is best known for his roles in several iconic 1980s films, such as his role as Johnny Lawrence in 1984's The Karate Kid.
In 2004, he was nominated for an Academy Award for co-writing and producing the film Most. His surname pronounced as "ZHAP-kuh," means "little frog."
Date of birth
He was born on October 21, 1965.
Zabka was born in New York City, the son of Nancy (Heimert), a business liaison, producer, and production assistant, and Stanley William Zabka, a director, writer, and composer. His father, who was assistant director of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson during the first two years of Carson's tenure, has worked as production manager on a number of motion pictures, including the Chuck Norris vehicle Forced Vengeance. Zabka grew up with two siblings.
Not much information is available about his education except that he is trained in the martial art Tang Soo Do.
He married his fiance, Stacie, in 2008.
Zabka's breakout acting role came in his first movie, 1984's The Karate Kid. He played Johnny Lawrence, the main antagonist to the title character played by Ralph Macchio.
He had no previous martial arts experience at the time but was an accomplished wrestler. His participation in the film inspired him to learn the martial art of Tang Soo Do and later earning a second green belt.
During the 1980s, Zabka appeared in the comedy movies Just One of the Guys (1985) and Back to School (1986).
Zabka also co-starred on the CBS television series The Equalizer as the son of the title character (1986–89).
He also played Jack, Audrey's jock boyfriend, in National Lampoon's European Vacation.
During the 1990s and 2000s, he acted mostly in independent films while studying to be a filmmaker. In 2003, he wrote and produced the short film Most, shot on location in the Czech Republic and Poland.
Most (aka The Bridge) had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival 2003 and won numerous awards at prestigious film festivals, including Best of Festival at the Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films in 2003.
In 2004, he was nominated for an Academy Award for Most in the Live Action Short Film category.
In 2007, Zabka directed and starred in a music video for the band No More Kings entitled "Sweep the Leg".
The video stars Zabka as a caricature of himself, living in a trailer in the desert and obsessed with his role in The Karate Kid.
The video includes cameos by several of the original Karate Kid cast members, including Martin Kove and Ralph Macchio.
In 2010, Zabka directed Rascal Flatts in their music video for the song "Why Wait". That same year, Zabka made a cameo appearance in the film Hot Tub Time Machine.
In 2013, Zabka, along with Macchio, guest starred in the season 8 episode of How I Met Your Mother, "The Bro Mitzvah". Zabka also appeared in several episodes of the show's ninth season.
Zabka also did directing commercials for clients including Little Tikes and Verizon at Heresy in Venice, California.
On August 4, 2017 it was announced that Zabka will reprise his role as Johnny Lawrence in a 30-minute, 10 part Karate Kid revival series for YouTube Red titled Cobra Kai that is set to debut in 2018.
He also co-executive produced the series with Ralph Macchio. The series is set 30 years after the events of the 1984 All Valley Karate Tournament and revolves around a down and out Johnny who, seeking redemption, reopens the infamous Cobra Kai dojo.
|Born||21st October, 1965|
|Home City||New York, U.S.|