Monday, November 29, 2021

The actress who plays Lucille LaRusso was part of television history

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Any fan of the original “Karate Kid” would recognize Randee Heller as Daniel LaRusso’s mother Lucille, who starred in the original films “Part III” and “Cobra Kai”. But while Lucille LaRusso was an important figure in the life of protagonist Daniel LaRusso, Randee Heller may not be as well known as some of the other members of the legendary cast. So what do we know about them? And will she appear again in future episodes of “Cobra Kai”?

Here’s what you need to know about Daniel LaRusso’s mom, Lucille.

Randee Heller, who portrays Lucille, was born in 1947 and has had a long career in television and film.

After Heller played the loving and kind-hearted Lucille LaRusso in 1984 at the age of 36, he no longer appeared in “Part II” and only appeared briefly in one scene in “Part III”.

However, she returned to the Karate Kid franchise as Lucille LaRusso in Cobra Kai, and made her first appearance on Season 1 Episode 8 at a dinner party with Daniel’s family at the age of 70. She reappeared in season 2, sharing memories of Daniel’s late father and helping him with his marital problems while looking at old photos.

Fortunately for fans of Daniel’s mom, Netflix recently announced that Lucille would appear in season 4 of Cobra Kai, so viewers won’t have seen her character for the last time.

What many may not know is that a few years before “The Karate Kid”, Heller portrayed a character named Alice in “Soap” – a comedy on ABC that aired from 1977-1981. Alice, who first appeared on screen in 1979, was the first recurring lesbian character on television, according to HuffPost.

However, Alice wasn’t even the first gay character in the series. “Soap” also featured Billy Crystal as Jodie Dallas, the first gay character on television according to USA Today. As HuffPost explains, the portrayal of gay characters on television has been controversial not only among conservatives but also among gay rights advocates.

Although many conservative religious groups – such as the Southern Baptists, the United Church of Christ, the United Methodist Church, and the National Council of Catholic Bishops – were upset by the portrayal of homosexuality on television, many anti-character gay rights activists were there too it was perceived as a “tragic portrait of the real persecution of openly gay people”. The article went on to say:

Even if the portrayal of Alice may have had its flaws, it was groundbreaking for the gay and lesbian scene as well as for television. The fact that there has never been an LGBT character on television before may have unsettled producers. Heller shared how they reacted when she suggested a lesbian kiss during exercise:

Heller reappeared as a lesbian character in 2010, as a guest star on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Around the same time, she played another recognizable role: Ida Blankenship, Don Draper’s secretary on Mad Men.

Tune in to Netflix to see more of Lucille and other “Cobra Kai” characters when Season 4 releases on December 31st.

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