I was fumbling around the Internet this morning and fell into a weird rabbit hole, and made a discovery that blew my mind. You probably only have the vaguest recollection of him, but this guy — Yuji Okumoto — played the assistant to Ken Watannabe’s character, Saito, in Inception.
It’s not a great photo. I’m merely including it to show how long Yuji Okumoto has been in our orbit. You’ve probably seen him in a half a dozen things over the last decade, from Bones to The Unit to The Mentalist.
However, he may be most familiar to you — and by “you,” I mean children of the 80s — as the villain, Chozen, from Karate Kid II.
Back in the 1980s, of course, we didn’t have IMDB, and we probably didn’t pay that much attention to actors who appeared in minor roles, so it completely blew my mind when I realized that Chozen was ASIAN HOWARD COSELL from Better Off Dead.
This is insane. It’s been 30 years, and I’m only now putting 2+2 together. What’s next? Are we going to find out that Ricky is the guy behind practically the entire catalogue of memorable Nickelodeon shows, from Good Burger to Kenan and Kel to Josh & Drake Zoey 101, Sam & Cat and iCarly. If you turn on Nickelodeon, there’s a very good chance you’re watching a series created, produced, or written by Dan Schneider. This guy.
Or that the girl who played little Mattie Ross in the original John Wayne version of True Grit was played by Kim Darby, who played Lane Meyers’ mother in Better Off Dead!?
You know who else I loved from Better Off Dead? Diane Franklin. Why am I just now realizing that she was Princess Joanna in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure?
What about Taylor Negron? You know who he is. You may not be able to place exactly where you’ve seen him, but you’ve seen him before (he has 131 credits on IMDB):
Sadly, Negron died of cancer last year. RIP. Fun fact: He played the mailman on Better off Dead!
Surely, there are no more surprises here, right? Oh wait, there is one more! You remember the iconic line that you still deliver occasionally today? “That’s a real shame when people be throwing away a perfectly good white boy like that.”
You may not remember that the actor who delivered that line was Steven Williams. Who? You watched 21 Jump Street, right? He’s the guy who isn’t Johnny Depp in this photo.
But he is ALSO Virgil from The Leftovers.
Yup. The old man in The Leftovers who offed himself is the same guy who called John Cusack’s character a perfectly good white boy. Insert Full Circle joke here.