Martin Kove is best known as villain John Kreese in The Karate Kid trilogy and on the Netflix series Cobra Kai. He showed off his real-life karate skills in the franchise but now fans are getting to see whether he can dance. Kove is competing on the new season of Dancing With the Stars, which airs on Monday nights at 8 p.m. on ABC.
Martin Kove Is 75 & Was Raised Jewish
Martin Kove is the oldest competitor out on the dance floor this season. He was born on March 6, 1946, making him 75 years old, according to IMDB. By the way, he was 38 when The Karate Kid was first released.
Kove grew up as an only child in a Jewish household in Brooklyn, New York. In a 2017 interview, Kove described his parents as conservative Jews who had to scrape by, as many did, during the Great Depression.
Kove said growing up, he and his parents attended temple services on the holidays and observed the Jewish Sabbath at his grandmother’s house. Kove said his grandparents came from Russia and Poland. He added that he had his Bar Mitzvah at the Brooklyn Jewish Center in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
In that same interview, Kove admitted he hasn’t always been an ideal role model when it comes to practicing his faith. But he said he tries to encourage his own children to practice Judaism and participate in the traditions.
At 6’1″, Kove Is the Tallest of the Main Characters on Cobra Kai
Kove stands at 6’1″ tall, according to ScreenRant.
The website reports that Kove is the tallest of the main characters on Cobra Kai. William Zabka, who plays Johnny Lawrence, stands just about an inch shorter than Kove.
Ralph Macchio, who plays Daniel LaRusso, is 5’9″. Kove said he received some advice from Macchio about DWTS; Macchio competed in 2011.
Kove told Good Morning America that he spoke with Macchio on the phone for about an hour about the show. “He had just a ball,” Kove said of Macchio’s time on Dancing With the Stars. “When he left he was in tears, he told me. He just really had such a good time.”
Kove Says He Was Excited for the Physical Challenge of DWTS
Kove may be in his mid-70s but he’s not afraid of getting physical. He told Good Morning America he was most looking forward to the conditioning involved with DWTS.
He said he was excited to find out if he could “do some of those splits that I used to do in the ’60s. I don’t know if I could do it anymore.”
Kove insisted he still has the energy needed to compete. But he admitted that he had to ask himself, “are the muscles still in the same places?”
Kove is incorporating some of his iconic character’s personality in his approach to the competition. When the full cast was announced, Kove shared the trailer on Instagram and wrote, “You better believe no mercy exists on that dance floor!”
He wrote on a second post, “Sweep the dance floor!” (If you’re unfamiliar, his Karate Kid character famously instructed pupil Johnny Lawrence to “sweep the leg” during the championship match against Daniel LaRusso).
But Kove also says he’s excited to show the viewers his personality that is separate from his on-screen alter ego. He posted on Twitter on September 19, “I want to have a good time as Marty Kove, not as John Kreese. It’s not a matter of being hard and tough,” Kove said. “It’s a matter of really showing… there’s another side of this actor other than the popular John Kreese from Cobra Kai.”