Martin Kove

Active - 1972 - 2021  |   Born - Mar 6, 1946 in Brooklyn, New York, United States  |   Genres - Action, Drama, Horror, Crime, Western

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Like many New York actors, Martin Kove was willing to go unbilled to pick up extra paychecks in such East Coast-filmed efforts as Little Murders (1971) and Last House on the Left (1972). By 1984, Kove was pulling down third billing in such films as The Karate Kid, wherein he played Kreese, the "bad" karate expert who trained the film's principal heavy William Zabka for his bout against the simon-pure Ralph Macchio (Kove replaced Chuck Norris, who turned down the role of Kreese because he didn't want karate trainers to be shown in an unsympathetic light). Martin Kove's work on series TV has included the roles of detective Victor Isbecki on Cagney and Lacey and an extraterrestrial named Jesse on Hard Time on Planet Earth.

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  • Is of Jewish descent.
  • Wanted to be an actor after he participated in a play in fourth grade.
  • Was supported by his parents to pursue his career in the entertainment industry.
  • While he was filming the first Karate Kid, he trained martials arts under the guidance of Pat Johnson.
  • Started his career as an actor in community theaters.
  • Has several black belts in martials arts including Tiger Kenpo, Kendo, and Okinawa-te.
  • Was named an honorary marshall of the suburban neighborhood Tarzana in Los Angeles.