From dojo to dance floor. Dancing With the Stars season 30 will be the first introduction to Martin Kove for some viewers — and there are a few things to know about the contestant.
Kove, 75, is the oldest participant on the ABC competition series this year, but he has decades of experience on screen. (He doesn’t beat late Cloris Leachman, who was the oldest-ever contestant at age 82 in 2008.)
The Brooklyn-born actor started his career in the 1970s with roles on classics such as Gunsmoke, The Rockford Files and The Incredible Hulk. After some guest spots on Starsky and Hutch as well as CHiPs, Kove scored gigs as a series regular in the 1980s.
He appeared on 125 episodes of Cagney & Lacey from 1982 to 1985 as Detective Victor Isbecki. The actor balanced his time on the procedural drama with plenty of film roles, including memorable characters in The Karate Kid franchise and Rambo II.
The eldest DWTS contestant might even be in better shape than his competition. Among the stars he’ll be competing against are Bachelor alum Matt James, Spice Girl Melanie C, Beverly Hills, 90210 alum Brian Austin Green, influencer Olivia Jade and Olympic gymnast Suni Lee.
Working on Netflix’s Cobra Kai has kept Kove fit. “I have to work out,” he told Men’s Health in November 2020. “I have to do a lot of stuff that, probably, I wouldn’t do.”
While the New Yorker typically enjoys tennis and horseback riding, he has to do more intense training for his role in the karate drama. “This really keeps you on your toes, of learning karate, staying with it,” the actor added. “It’s very, very exciting.”
He isn’t the first Karate Kid alum to compete for the mirrorball trophy. His costar Ralph Macchio previously joined Dancing With the Stars, placing fourth while dancing with Karina Smirnoff in 2011
The Once Upon a Time in Hollywood actor hopes that Dancing With the Stars will give him a chance to prove that he’s more than just his Cobra Kai character.
“I want to have a good time as Marty Kove,” he told ABC. “It’ not a matter of being hard [or] tough. It’s a matter of really showing the population out there that there’s another side of this actor other than the popular John Kreese from Cobra Kai.”
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