67 minutes | Mar 11, 2021

Kevin Derek | Director of “More Than Miyagi: The Pat Morita Story” Trauma Survivor and Inspiration

Growing up as the son of Iranian immigrants, Kevin Derek faced adversity with racism and prejudice growing up.  He saw parallels in his own life story, that tied in with the story of his new documentary “More Than Miyagi”, which tells the life story of Pat Morita. As an Iranian-American, Kevin saw parallels in his own life, dealing with racism being Iranian, being beaten up as a kid, and having racial slurs spray-painted on his garage… he saw himself in the character of Daniel LaRusso (as played by Ralph Macchio) in “The Karate Kid”.  He even had his own mentor Fumio Demorua (The Real Miyagi), like Mr. Miyagi, through martial arts he developed coping mechanisms and discipline to deal with his trauma.  That film was hugely influential on him, which led him to this documentary. During his research for this film, he found out that Pat dealt with the same racism during the ’40s & ’50s into his professional career.  This was the main inspiration for Kevin to tell the story of how they just both wanted to be successful American citizens and overcoming the many types of obstacles in their way. With Pat Morita, he wanted to tell his whole life story, starting with how he was diagnosed with then incurable tuberculosis.  He was in a full-body cast, confined to a sanitarium from the ages of 2 to 11.  Right after his recovery in 1941, World War 2 is in full force, and the FBI came to his families’ home and took them to an internment camp.  His father would make bootleg sake in the internment camps, and Pat started drinking at 12 years old, which started his early alcoholism in his life.  Pat was constantly teased and had overcome racism on daily basis as a Japanese-American, making it tough to start his professional acting career.  He didn’t start acting until his 30’s, and at first, got roles mainly as minority-based smaller characters, it was tough for people of color or of another national original to get leading roles in films or TV.  His drinking made its way to the set of movies and TV, causing problems in his career.  Eventually, Pat’s alcoholism led to his death at age 73. Kevin Derek tells this story, with parallels to his own life story in the fantastic new documentary “More Than Miyagi”, which has a rare 100% fresh rating on rotten tomatoes. This is Kevin Derek in his own words, on Knockin’ Doorz Down. For 51FIFTY use the discount code KDD20 for 20% off! https://51fiftyltm.com/ https://www.facebook.com/51FIFTYLTM https://www.instagram.com/51fiftyltm/ https://twitter.com/51FIFTYLTM For Carlos Vieira's autobiography Knockin' Doorz Down   https://www.kddmediacompany.com/   For more on the Knockin' Doorz Down podcast, YouTube Channel and to follow us on social media  https://www.kddmediacompany.com/podcast https://www.instagram.com/knockindoorzdown/ https://www.facebook.com/knockingdoorsdown/ https://twitter.com/kddmediacompany https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUSJ5ooBFqso8lfFiiIM-5g/ For more information on the Carlos Vieira Foundation and the Race 2B Drug-Free, Race to End the Stigma and Race For Autism programs visit: https://www.carlosvieirafoundation.org/ https://www.facebook.com/CVFoundation/ https://www.instagram.com/carlosvieirafoundation/ For more on More Than Miyagi and Keven Derek – https://www.linkpop.biz/more-than-miyagi/ https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/more_than_miyagi_the_pat_morita_story https://www.instagram.com/kevinderek https://www.facebook.com/kevin.derek.3
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