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Zabka in 2016
|Born||William Michael Zabka
October 20, 1965
New York City, U.S.
|Occupation||Actor, producer, screenwriter, martial artist|
|Spouse(s)||Stacie Zabka (2008–present)|
William Michael Zabka (born October 20, 1965) 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.
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.
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. He later tried to step away from playing the bully character. He mentioned in an interview how he was sometimes hassled in public by random people because of the villainous characters he was best known for.
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 is currently 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 will also co-executive produce 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. It reignites his rivalry with a now-successful Daniel, who has been struggling to maintain balance in his life without the guidance of his mentor, Mr. Miyagi who has since passed away.
|1984||The Karate Kid||Johnny Lawrence|
|1985||Just One of the Guys||Greg Tolan|
|National Lampoon's European Vacation||Jack|
|1986||Back to School||Chas Osborne|
|The Karate Kid Part II||Johnny Lawrence|
|1988||A Tiger's Tale||Randy|
|1991||For Parents Only||Ted||Alternative title: Mean Parents Suck|
|1992||Shootfighter: Fight to the Death||Ruben||Alternative title: Shootfighter|
|The Power Within||Raymond Vonn||Alternative title: Power Man|
|1999||Interceptors||Dave||Alternative titles: Interceptor Force
Predator 3: Intercepters
The Last Line of Defence
|2000||Mindstorm||Rojack||Alternative titles: Artificial Telepathy
Project: Human Weapon
|Falcon Down||Security Guard John|
|Hyper Sonic||The Executive|
|Dark Descent||Marty (Opening credits only)||Alternative title: Descent Into Darkness|
||Alternative title: The Bridge, screenwriter & producer|
|2004||Roomies||Slick Salesman||Alternative title: Wild Roomies|
|2007||Smiley Face||Prison guard|
|Cake: A Wedding Story||Sam||Alternative title: Cake: A Wedding Comedy|
|Starting from Scratch||Bill Bowman|
|2008||The Man in the Silo||Kevin|
|2010||Hot Tub Time Machine||Rick Steelman|
|2015||Where Hope Grows||Milton Malcolm|
|1983||The Greatest American Hero||Clarence Mortner, Jr.||1 episode|
|1984||Gimme a Break!||Jeffery||1 episode|
|CBS Schoolbreak Special||Rick Peterson||1 episode|
|1984–1985||E/R||Druggie Kid/Thief||1 episode|
|1985–1989||The Equalizer||Scott McCall||9 episodes|
|1996||To the Ends of Time||Alexander||Television movie|
|Python||Greg Larsen||Television movie|
|2002||Python II||Greg Larsen||Television movie, credited as Billy Zabka|
|2013–2014||How I Met Your Mother||Clown/Himself||Guest Star (Season 8), Recurring Role (Season 9)|
|2014||Psych||Coach Bagg||Guest (Season 8)|
|2018||Cobra Kai||Johnny Lawrence||Zabka will star and co-executive produce reboot television series of The Karate Kid|
|1985||Young Artist Award||Best Young Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture Musical, Comedy, Adventure or Drama||The Karate Kid||Nominated|
|2004||Academy Awards||Best Short Film, Live Action||Most (shared with Bobby Garabedian)|
- "Sweep the Leg! Interview with the real Johnny, William Zabka". Kung Fu Magazine. Retrieved May 26, 2010.
- "William Zabka Biography (1965-)". Filmreference.com. 1965-10-20. Retrieved 2016-10-09.
- "William Zabka Bio". HERESY. Retrieved 2015-08-12.
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