Since 1984, Ralph Macchio has been associated with his Karate Kid character Daniel LaRusso. After starring in the first three installments of the martial arts film franchise, the actor has stepped back into Daniel’s shoes in Cobra Kai, which is available to watch on Netflix.
As fans are aware, the acclaimed series continues the storylines of popular Karate Kid characters. Since the events of the 1989 film The Karate Kid Part III, Daniel has married, become a father to two children, and established a lucrative career.
He and his wife Amanda (Courtney Henggeler) own the LaRusso Auto Group. To promote his numerous car dealerships, Daniel, who famously won the 1984 and 1985 All Valley Tournament, stars in karate-themed commercials.
Macchio Did Not Agree With Daniel’s Career in ‘Cobra Kai’
During a 2018 interview with Yahoo! Entertainment, Macchio revealed that he did not agree with the writers’ decision to have Daniel be in the car dealership industry. He told the publication:
There was a decent amount that felt like not necessarily where I would have gone if I wrote it. Fortunately, I didn’t write it, and [Cobra Kai’s co-creators] Jon [Hurwitz], Josh [Heald], and Hayden [Schlossberg] did. So I had to let go and trust the fan fiction of it all. As far as being the auto king of the San Fernando Valley and doing these car commercials, I probably wouldn’t have gone in that direction. I said, ‘I see it’s funny, we just need to make it real.’ And we found that balance together.
In a 2014 Interview, Macchio Talked About Daniel’s Life as an Adult
Four years before Cobra Kai premiered, Macchio spoke to USA Today Sports about Daniel’s life as an adult. During the 2014 interview, he noted that he believed “LaRusso would be a family man,” due to his mentor Mr. Miyagi’s (Pat Morita) influence.
“If you want to be funny in a crowd you can always say he became a serial killer, but I think all the Miyagisms made him a good family man and decent dad. I’m sure if his son was picked on he’d know how to answer some of those questions,” said the actor. “I think LaRusso should turn out to be exactly what we want him to be. Middle-working class guy, successful and after being screwed [over] by all these women in the two or three movies… well, the two I talk about… he ends up finding the right one.”
Macchio ended up being correct with his assumption that Daniel would be a devoted father. Granted his son, Anthony (Griffin Santopietro), has limited scene time, so it does appear that he has a closer relationship with his daughter Samantha (Mary Mouser). Throughout the series, Daniel shares his passion for karate with Sam and is a constant source of support for the teenager. He also acts as a surrogate father to his rival Johnny Lawrence’s (William “Billy” Zabka) son, Robby Keene (Tanner Buchanan).
In a December 2020 Esquire interview, Macchio commented on the theme of fatherhood in the Karate Kid franchise.
“The father figure was always ingrained in the original Karate Kid. And Cobra Kai is that. You have a guy who has a family that’s together [Daniel], and you have another guy who is trying to put his family together [Johnny],” explained the 59-year-old.