Pat E. Johnson, a longtime stuntman who was the fight choreographer for and played a referee in the Karate Kid movies and appeared in the martial arts classic Enter the Dragon and in Chuck Norris films, has died. He was 84.
His wife, Susan, posted on social media that he died Sunday but did not provide details.
“For those that don’t know, my husband, Pat Johnson, passed away yesterday,” Sue Johnson posted on Facebook. “I was blessed to have all my sons here with me – we cried, we laughed, we held each other close. 54 years off my life is now at peace, and I am blessed with so many amazing memories, friends, children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. If anyone wants to remember him through a donation in his name, we believe greatly in the Diabetes association or living Kidney association – both near and dear to our hearts. Thank you to everyone who has reached out and to those who have appreciated his work in films and his great love of the Martial Arts and all the people that became family through them. Love to all, Sue Johnson and Family.”
Johnson had more than three dozen stuntman credits, starting with the 1973 martial arts classic Enter the Dragon, starring Bruce Lee, in which he also had a bit role. He did stunts and served as stunt coordinator in several other 1970s and ’80 films, working with such martial arts stars as Norris, Jackie Chan and Jim Kelly — as well as with Steve McQueen in the actor’s final film, The Hunter, in 1980.
He went to on serve as the martial arts choreographer for 1984’s The Karate Kid, adding the stunt coordinator title for its 1986 and 1989 sequels, along with playing a fight referee in all three. He taught star Ralph Macchio the first film’s famous “crane kick.”
He also was stunt coordinator for 1995’s The Next Karate Kid.
Johnson was fight choreographer and/or stunt coordinator for such films as To Live and Die in L.A. (1985), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) and its 1991 and ’93 sequels, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992), Mortal Kombat (1995) and Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997), Batman & Robin (1997) and Wild Wild West (1999). He continued to work in smaller films until 2012, along with having a small role in the 2016 episode of TV’s Rush Hour.
Johnson also co-wrote and played a referee in the 1979 Norris pic A Force of One and had a bit role and did stunts for the 1978 Norris starrer Good Guys Wear Black.