Pat Morita got his big break playing Arnold on “Happy Days.” Before that, he struggled to find his way in comedy and acting alike. After the show ended, Morita landed one of the most iconic roles in eighties cinema. From there he took over one hundred roles during his long career.
It is safe to say that the former “Happy Days,” actor has a wealth of wisdom for aspiring actors. In an interview with The Television Academy Foundation, he discussed advice he would give to those who want to break into the profession.
‘Happy Days’ Actor, Pat Morita Gives Sage Acting Advice
At one point in the interview, they ask Pat Morita what advice he would give to aspiring actors. After a moment of thought, Morita replied, “I think the best advice I have is to try not to do what I did. Do it better.” His career was successful. However, he looked up to Ron Howard in a way. During an earlier portion of the interview, he noted Howard’s formal education in film. He credited that education along with Howard’s work ethic and talent for the filmmaker’s success.
The former “Happy Days,” star went on to stress the importance of education. “Education is an enormous asset and I don’t mean just general education. Learn about acting, actors, whet your appetite to know and absorb everything you can about the performing arts and specifically about that which you want to get into.”
Pat Morita had no formal education in film before “Happy Days.” He had to work hard to get where he did. In fact, he had to work through a lack of education as well as racism in the film and television industry. He knows the doors that education will open. At the same time, he knows how hard those doors are to open without it.
Morita on the Evolution of an Acting Career
Acting, Pat Morita says, starts as a curiosity. Then, from there, it evolves into a wonderment. You have to know whether or not you can act. So, you have to try. If you find that you can do it, things change. You have to continue to raise your stakes. Your goals have to get bigger. The bar you set for yourself has to keep getting higher. At that point, acting becomes an all-consuming passion. In the end, though, the former “Happy Days” star says, “It’s all about survival.”
On the other hand, passion and education aren’t enough to make a successful career. Morita said “You have to be diligent and earnest and eventually learn to love it. There’s no other way to live your life.”
There you have it. Straight from “Happy Days” own Arnold. Education, drive, and diligence combined with some talent are what you need for a successful acting career.