Ralph Macchio was an icon in the 1980s! Everyone knew his name, and you couldn’t meet a girl who didn’t like him or a boy who didn’t want to be him.
But what was the big deal? Why was he so popular, and how did he get there? Plus, where in the world is he now, 30 years later?
Well Macchio was born in New York to a couple that had moved to the U.S. from Naples, Italy. His father owned a ranch, so he wasn’t exactly brought up in the life of luxury.
Macchio’s acting career started in the early 1980s. He started by appearing in commercials for Dr. Pepper and Bubble Yum. A little while later, he was Johnny Cade in the movie The Outsiders, which helped propel him (and many other young men) into stardom. To give a few examples, Patrick Swayze, Matt Dillon and Emilio Estevez were also in the movie.
But what really topped Macchio’s acting career was The Karate Kid. Playing a senior in high school who was getting beat up by bullies, Macchio went on to learn karate and participate in a huge karate tournament. He ended up fighting the bullies that had beat him up previously, and one of them actually got kicked out of the tournament in order to break his leg. Macchio still finished the tournament though, winning with a tricky crane kick he’d seen his mentor perform constantly.
But where is the actor now? Is he all washed up, or did he continue to work in Hollywood over the years?
Macchio continued to work as an adult, but never had the kind of success he’d experienced in his 20s (I mean, it would’ve been a pretty high bar for anyone to maintain). His most significant role was the antagonist in My Cousin Vinny, a comedy starring Joe Pesci.
In 2011, it was announced that he would compete in the next Dancing with the Stars. He actually did very well, finishing in 4th place and getting eliminated in the semi-finals.
Ralph hasn’t done all of this by himself though. He has been married to the same woman, Phyllis Fierro, since 1987. They’ve had two kids since then, and his wife works as a nurse practitioner.