Last Updated on March 18, 2024 by Jawad Ali

William Zabka

William Zabka (born October 20, 1965) is an American actor. He is best known for his role as Johnny Lawrence in The Karate Kid (1984), The Karate Kid Part II (1986), and the TV series Cobra Kai (2018 present). In 2004, he was nominated for an Academy Award for co-writing and producing the short film Most.

Zabka was born in New Jersey on October 20th, 1965. His parents divorced when he was very young, and he moved to Los Angeles with his mother. After a few years, they moved back to Springfield Township, Union County, New Jersey, where he grew up from age 11 through high school. At 16, Zabka moved back to California, where he attended Santa Monica High School. After graduating, he enrolled at the University of Southern California.

Early life

Zabka was born William James Zabka in New York City, New York. His father was “a well-to-do tapestry merchant” who escaped Communist Czechoslovakia by swimming across the Danube to freedom at age 15; his mother’s family emigrated legally shortly after that. His parents divorced when he was 12.

Zabka attended Westlake High School in Los Angeles, California, and graduated from there in 1983. He has a sister named Kaitlin Zabka. He appeared as Danny Lawrence, the antagonist to Chris Makepeace’s title character in The Last Resort, which was released on January 31, 1986, during the original film’s release. In April 1989, Zabka had a role as Brad in an episode of Freddy’s Nightmares titled “Monkey Dreams.” He co-starred with Angela Goethals and Greg Evigan in Phantom Punch.

Net worth

Net worth of William is $3 million.


Zabka got his acting break when cast as a bully in The Karate Kid (1984). He returned the following year to reprise his role for The Karate Kid Part II (1986). His character’s signature move is the crane kick that knocks Daniel down during their final tournament.

When interviewed about his role, Zabka said: “I think I’m most proud of it being so iconic. People are still constantly quoting lines from the movie.”

  • Numerous minor roles as an actor throughout the 70s and 80s
  • Directed the comedy short ‘Cult Classic’ (2014)
  • Directed, edited and wrote the short film ‘Kumite’ (2016)

William James Zabka is an American actor and a martial artist born on October 20, 1965 (53) in Los Angeles, California, United States. He is best known for his role as Johnny Lawrence, the main antagonist in Karate Kid (1984), a movie where he appeared together with Ralph Macchio. Afterward, he appeared in other movies such as Back to School (1986) and Hot Tub Time Machine (2010).

William Zabka appeared in the following films and TV shows

  1. Karate Kid, 1984 – 1985, As Johny Lawrence, This is a story about Daniel LaRusso being trained by Mr. Miyagi to defeat Johnny Lawrence. There was a rematch held since Daniel lost the first match.
  2. Back to School, 1986, As Randy Meeks, This movie is about Thornton Melon, a wealthy self-made man who goes back to his old school to attend college.
  3. Hot Tub Time Machine, 2010, As Jacob Palmer, Three guys decided to go back in time by using a hot tub they discovered. They went through different eras of life and had some crazy good times.
  4. Selfie (TV series) 2014 – 2015, As Professor Gary Fields, Henry Higgs’ life changed after meeting an Instagram star named Sam Saperstein. Later on, Henry became friends with Sam even though he could not keep up with her standards because she was way out of his league. Sam, however, did not like the friendship until she realized that Henry was also helping her other friends; later on, Sam and Henry started dating.
  5. The Grand Budapest Hotel (film) 2014, As Deputy Vilmos Kovacs, This is a story about Gustave H who inherited an old hotel after the death of his father; but at the same time, there was another person who also wanted to own it; then one day, Gustave’s friend got killed. The Grand Budapest Hotel became famous for its unique style in crime-fighting since they used weapons made from different things: Like a chimney sweep and a clock face.
  6. Spectre (2015 film) 2015, Mr. Bridger, This is a story about James Bond who was assigned to find out who is behind Specter’s organization. The mission got tougher when he found out that Mr. White, an old acquaintance of his, was also working with them; this happens while he has someone special in his life.
  7. Zoey to the Max 2018, Professor Herzog, Zoey Brooks enters an elite university called Harvard University because her parents decided she wasn’t ready for college yet. Her college life started well until everything got worse after being ripped off by the school’s biggest meanie.

First role of Zabka

Zabka has had various onscreen acting roles throughout his career. His first role was as a psychiatrist in one episode of CHiPs, and his last role before acting in The Karate Kid was as Tim Avery’s friend Lance Lawson/Wolfman in one episode of Baby Talk (1991). He also played himself as one of Lisa Kudrow’s boyfriends on Friends.

William Zabka’s other works include lead roles in two short-lived TV series: the CBS sitcom Just One of the Guys, based on the 1985 film of the same name, and Nickelodeon’s teen sitcom Zoey 101. He also had a supporting role as a medic in A Few Good Men (1992) and a cameo appearance in Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998). Zabka made guest appearances on Married with Children and Touched by an Angel.

He is also the author of a book entitled The Balance Project. Zabka worked at Bishop Gorman High School for several years as Dean of Students before leaving to pursue acting full-time.  

Read More: Who Is Alex Trebek? Net Worth, Early Life, Education Career and All Other Info

TV appearances

1990s debuts, both in series that were short-lived. Just One of the Guys (1 episode, 1989), Lance Lawson/Wolfman The Adventures of Pete & Pete  (1 episode, 1993), Rick The New TNN Top Cops (1 episode, 1994), Tommy ‘Sunshine’ Larkin Super Dave: Daredevil for Hire (1 episode, 1994), El Kabong.

1990s debuts, both series had several appearances from William Zabka before being canceled. Married, with Children (3 episodes,1990-1994), Randy Just the Ten of Us (5 episodes, 1989-1990), Bobby Cobb Touched by an Angel  (1 episode, 1997), Leo Krupp.

2000s debuts Huge (8 episodes, 2010), Victor Haig Entourage  (6 episodes, 2008-2009), Himself CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (1 episode, 2007), Brad Hunt The Protector (1 episode, 2011), Detective Robert Davenport 2012 movie releases A Warrior’s Heart (post-production), John Miller 2011 movie releases The Power of Few (pre-production), Det. Bonano Waking Sleeping Beauty (post-production), Roy Disney.


Following the success of The Karate Kid movies, Zabka was in negotiations to play a villain in Back to the Future (1985), but the role went to Thomas F. Wilson. Zabka also starred several B-movies, including Skatetown, U.S.A. (1979). Venice Beach (1986), One Crazy Summer (1986), A Very Brady Sequel (1996).

In 1994, William Zabka worked on his directorial debut film titled Most. In 2001 he wrote and directed another short film, The Takedown.

Final thoughts

Besides acting, writing, producing, and martial arts, William Zabka is a well-known American. It is believed that William Zabka net’s net worth as of 2022 is $13 million. He is best known for portraying Johnny Lawrence in the martial arts drama film “The Karate Kid.” He is estimated to be worth $13 million as of 2022.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why William is so famous?

William is so famous for his TV roles and because of his movies.

  • Is William a good person?

Yes, he is very good person and he is famous because of his good sense of humor.