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Ralph Macchio talks ‘Karate Kid,’ ‘Dancing With the Stars,' more

Actor Ralph Macchio with Kidsday reporter Eric Galinkin

Actor Ralph Macchio with Kidsday reporter Eric Galinkin of East Setauket. Credit: Galinkin family

I interviewed the amazing actor and dancer Ralph Macchio.

Before the movie “Karate Kid,” did you like karate?

I took karate when I was about 11. My parents got me self-defense classes for Christmas. I only attended four classes. I did read a book on Eastern philosophy and the mindset of martial arts beyond the kicking and the punching. I found that pretty cool.

What was your favorite part of the movie?

My personal favorite sequence in the movie was when Mr. Miyagi was drunk and remembering his wife and his child who died during World War II. There is a scene when Daniel puts Mr. Miyagi to bed and it is a really important part of the movie because at this point the master, Mr. Miyagi, passes the baton to Daniel who then becomes the caretaker for his teacher. My second favorite part is when Daniel begins training himself. There is great classical music in the background, and stirring sequences. I still get goose bumps when I see that part of the movie.

What other films were you in, and whom did you play?

“The Outsiders” is one of my favorites. I read that book when I was 12, and I got to be in that movie and play one of the best parts, Johnny. I got to say, “Stay gold,” the famous line from that film. I was in another movie, “My Cousin Vinny,” which was very popular and funny.

How was your experience on “Dancing With the Stars?”

It was great fun, total exhaustion, a lot of frustration, and very little sleep. The best part was when people were supporting me and voting for me. People were beeping horns and yelling out of buildings when they would see me. It was hard work, but really fun.

How often do you dance?

I dance like a fool around the kitchen just like anyone would when the doors are closed and no one’s watching. I haven’t kept up the ballroom that much. My wife wants to take ballroom lessons with me, so now the pressure is on.

Do you still keep up with your partner from “Dancing With the Stars”?

Yes, I am very good friends with Karina Smirnoff. In fact, we just made a movie together, which I wrote and directed, called “Across Grace Alley.” It appeared at the Stony Brook and the Hamptons film festivals and is available online on iTunes or Vimeo or can be downloaded at It is a 24-minute short film which deals with the hardship experienced by children whose parents are divorcing.

Did you name your son Daniel because of the “Karate Kid” movie?

That was part of it. My wife always loved the name Daniel and both our children have classic names, Julia and Daniel.

Do you like being famous or does it get annoying?

It’s awesome to have been in a few movies that generations have enjoyed. Sometimes it gets annoying when I’m doing something and people interrupt me to get an autograph, but that doesn’t happen as much as it used to.

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