With his short slender build, large brown eyes, and abundant hair, actor Ralph Macchio has often appeared to be the perennial adolescent -- a fact that has sometimes hindered his career. The actor is best known for his work in the phenomenally popular Karate Kid (1984), in which the then twenty-two year old actor played a troubled 14-year-old boy who is helped by a sage karate instructor. Macchio has been in show business most of his life; born in Long Island, he began performing in local musical productions as a young teenager. At 16, he began working in TV commercials, and before he had even graduated from high school had appeared in the adolescent comedy Up the Academy (1980), though he did not appear in another film until working in Francis Ford Coppola's epic of teenage rivalry The Outsiders (1983). Following the Karate Kid, Macchio began working in a series of minor films, such as the successful My Cousin Vinny (1992). He continued to work on television and on stage, even after his teen heart-throb days were over, appearing on Broadway opposite Robert De Niro in 1986 in Cuba and His Teddy Bears. He also appeared in the next two Karate Kid sequels, along with films like Dangerous Company and Too Much Sun. In 2002, Macchio tried his hand at screenwriting and directing, both helming and penning the short film Love Thy Brother. In 2006, the actor took a comedic turn in the sports comedy Beer League. Macchio would remain active for years to come, appearing most notably on the popular series Ugly Betty.
Biography by Sandra Brennan
- Parents enrolled him in dance classes at age 3; he continued taking lessons until he was 18.
- Was discovered by an agent while doing an Al Jolson dance routine.
- Appeared in the last season of Eight Is Enough before landing his breakout role in The Karate Kid (1984).
- Made his Broadway debut in 1986 in Cuba & His Teddy Bear opposite Robert De Niro.
- Wrote and directed the 2002 short film Love Thy Brother, based on his own sibling rivalry with brother Steven as a child.
- Had a recurring role on Ugly Betty as Hilda's love interest, councilman Archie Rodriguez.