An Update on Thomas Ian Griffith from The Karate Kid

Daniel LaRusso & Terry Silver

YouTube Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith) train together in "The Karate Kid Part III."

In The Karate Kid Part III Thomas Ian Griffith brought Terry Silver to life. Silver was an old friend of John Kreese (Martin Kove) from their time in Vietnam. After the war, Terry Silver became the head of Dynatox Industries, a nuclear and toxic waste disposal company, and amassed a large fortune.

During The Karate Kid Part III Silver tricks Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) into thinking he is a friend. He uses methods Mr. Miyagi would not approve of, simultaneously working behind the scenes with Kreese to plot Daniels demise.

After his role as Terry Silver, Thomas Ian Griffith appeared in a few other roles, according to IMDB. Additionally, an article about him in Black Belt Magazine revealed he is an avid martial artist off-screen, and holds black belts in both Kenpo karate and Tae Kwon Do.


Griffith Left Acting in 2007

Terry Silver and John Kreese

YouTubeTerry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith) tells John Kreese (Martin Kove) he will help him with Cobra Kai in “The Karate Kid Part III.”


Following The Karate Kid Part III Griffith landed a few high profile roles. According to IMDB he starred in the film Hollow Point, playing DEA agent Max Parish. He also appeared in smaller roles in the 1998 film Vampires and 2002 film XXX.

The last role he is credited for on IMBD is Cash in the 2007 TV movie The Kidnapping. Griffith and his co-star Judd Nelson played crooked cops Cash and Glen, who kidnap the daughter of a cash-securities expert in an attempt to rob a bank.

Since his acting career Griffith has worked in movies and television off screen. He most notably wrote and produced multiple episodes of NBC television series Grimm, according to IMDB.


Griffith Is an Avid Martial Artist

John Kreese and Terry Silver

YouTubeJohn Kreese (Martin Kove) and Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith) talk about the future of Cobra Kai in “The Karate Kid Part III”


Griffith became interested in both martial arts and acting while growing up in Hartford, Connecticut, according to Black Belt Magazine. Griffith moved to New York City, landing several smaller acting roles in theater.

LA Phil says Griffith “made his Broadway debut in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Other theater highlights include The First (Broadway), The Threepenny Opera, and Guys and Dolls (The Guthrie Theatre), 1776 and I’m Getting My Act Together… (L.A.’s Broadway Reprise).”

In an interview with Black Belt Magazine Griffith said “I’m looked upon as a theater actor who happened to know martial arts before I got into movies.” Griffith learned Kenpo karate and later took up Tae Kwon Do, studying under Hyung Yup Chung.

Griffith earned his black belt in under four years, according to Black Belt Magazine. He told them “I became addicted to it.”

He Was Not Cast as Terry Silver for His Martial Arts

Thomas Ian Griffith

YouTubeThomas Ian Griffith in ‘The Karate Kid Part III’


Griffith revealed to Black Belt Magazine that Terry Silver was not originally written to do as much karate on-screen. He said the character originally “just tortured Ralph, basically, and plotted his demise with Martin Kove.”

Eventually, stunt coordinator Pat Johnson learned about Griffith’s martial arts prowess and suggested he approach director John Avildsen about incorporating Terry Silver into some fight scenes, the publication says.

Avildsen was excited about rewriting the character as an active martial artist, Griffith told Black Belt Magazine. “That was the first time my career as an actor and my martial arts came together,” he said.

Griffith Is Older Than Ralph Macchio

Terry SIlver (Thomas Ian Griffith) and Daniel (Ralph Macchio) in 'The Karate Kid Part III'

YouTubeTerry SIlver (Thomas Ian Griffith) and Daniel (Ralph Macchio) in ‘The Karate Kid Part III’


While making The Karate Kid movies Ralph Macchio was actually much older than his character, Daniel, was supposed to be. Macchio was born on November 4, 1961. During the production of The Karate Kid Part III Macchio was actually 27 years old.

Griffith was born March 18, 1962, according to IMDB, making him five months younger than Macchio. The film successfully created the illusion Griffith was older because of the actors’ builds. Griffith’s stands 6’5″ while Macchio is only 5’8″.

It is widely speculated Griffith will return to the franchise for Cobra Kai Season 4. If Terry Silver returns he will likely come back into conflict with his old enemy, Daniel LaRusso.