Ralph Macchio on Being a ‘Nerd Dad’

Ralph Macchio

Getty Ralph Macchio talks during San Diego Comic-Con 2019: Day Two.

Ralph Macchio has been in the entertainment industry for over 40 years. He has starred in a number of popular films, including The Outsiders, My Cousin Vinny, and The Karate Kid. Since 2018, he resumed playing Daniel LaRusso in the acclaimed series Cobra Kai, which is a continuation of the Karate Kid film franchise. 


Macchio Has Described Himself as ‘a Nerd Dad’ & a ‘Geek Dad’

On top of being a talented actor, Macchio is also a devoted father to his adult children, Julia, 28, and Daniel, 25, who he shares with his wife, Phyllis Fierro. During a recent interview with People magazine, he revealed that his children have a deep appreciation for Cobra Kai

“Part of the beauty of the success of Cobra Kai is how much my kids are enjoying it. To bring something that was such a big part of my life 35 years ago, and see it be such a present part of their lives today, it’s really wonderful,” said Macchio. 

He clarified, however, that despite starring on a hit show, he is “still a nerd dad.”

While speaking to the publication, Macchio also disclosed that he is motivated by his children. 

“Everything I do now, more often than 10, 15 years ago, I’m thinking of it for the sake of my children as they’re getting older. They’re adults, but they’re always your kids,” explained the actor. 

In a January interview on The View, Macchio also spoke about how his children enjoy Cobra Kai. He expressed that his children’s interest in the show has been “awfully nice” as he is viewed as “cool for fifteen minutes or so as opposed to the geek dad.”

He quickly clarified that the title was “self proclaimed.” 

Macchio went on to say that his children’s reaction to Cobra Kai was unexpected but welcomed. 

“That is an icing on the cake that I was not expecting to have something that’s such a  big part of my life back in the day now be such a big part of my kid’s lives and them championing it I mean this show coming out — every season that it launched was like Christmas morning for them. All their friends, they’re all getting together. They’re binge watching it as a group. It’s really quite wonderful,” noted the 59-year-old. 

He also revealed that his children are close with a few of his Cobra Kai co-stars. 

“They’re friends with some of the young cast members, our next generation cast. It’s, uh, the gift that keeps on giving,” said Macchio. 


Macchio Suggested That Being a Father Has affected His Portrayal of Daniel LaRusso

In a December 2020 interview with  Comic Book Resources, the actor suggested that his role as a father has affected how he portrays Daniel on Cobra Kai. As fans of the show are aware, Macchio’s character has two children, Samantha (Mary Mouser) and Anthony (Griffin Santopietro). He told the publication: 

Listen, it’s great because I get to draw from — my kids are in their 20s, so I’ve sort of been through those years — every parental situation is different and there’s no manual. It’s navigating life. But being able to draw from certain experiences, even with Season 3, I remember sitting down with Mary before we did some of our scenes — the heart and soul of Episode 7 of Season 3 — I spoke about some of these experiences I had with my daughter, and we spoke those through.

To see more of Macchio, be sure to watch Cobra Kai available on Netflix.

READ NEXT: Who Was the Real Villain in The Karate Kid? William Zabka Weighs In


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