‘Cobra Kai’ Villain Thomas Ian Griffith Reveals How Terry Silver Got His Pony Tail In ‘The Karate Kid Part III’

When Cobra Kai announced the return of Thomas Ian Griffith as Terry Silver in season 4, they made sure to show him in profile. That way, you could see he’s still got that trademark pony tail. Griffith played Silver in The Karate Kid Part III but said the pony tail has a very simple explanation.

Thomas Ian Griffith sports the long hair from his Karate Kid Part III pony tail
Thomas Ian Griffith | Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Griffith was a guest on the Cobra Kai Kompanion podcast on July 30. In anticipation of his season 4 return, Griffith told the story of his casting in The Karate Kid Part III as well as how he ended up with a pony tail. Cobra Kai Season 4 premieres in December on Netflix. 

‘Cobra Kai’ bookends Thomas Ian Griffith’s career

Griffith was starting out as an actor, doing theater and episodes of shows In the Heat of the Night and the soap opera Another World. A sequel to The Karate Kid was a huge opportunity. It would be his first movie, while Cobra Kai marks his return to acting.

“I think my theater agent was like, ‘This is a show, they’re looking for guys who can do Karate. Why don’t you go over?’” Griffith said. “I think that’s how they got me in. The only thing I’d done, I’d come out and was taking all these general meetings, getting so frustrated. I was like, ‘I want to go back to New York and just work.’ In the Heat of the Night, I remember Carroll O’Connor being so encouraging I was like, ‘Okay, I’m going to stick it out here in L.A. and figure it out.’”

Griffith was also dating Mary Page Keller, whom he would marry. She was entrenched in Los Angeles on the TV sitcom Duets.

Thomas Ian Griffith and Mary Page Keller stand beside a table
Mary Page Keller and Thomas Ian Griffith | Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

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“Then my wife was like, ‘You have to stay with me,’” Griffith said. “We weren’t married at the time. She was committed on her shows. After Karate Kid III I found myself and started working more in Los Angeles.”

‘The Karate Kid Part III’ gave Terry Silver a pony tail in Thomas Ian Griffith’s audition

After his audition, The Karate Kid Part III called Griffith back for a screen test. When Griffith showed up, the hair department made magic that would last through Cobra Kai.

“The morning I showed up, I had hair down to my shoulders,” Griffith said. “I walk in and they were like, ‘How do we keep his hair out of his face?’ I remember the hair lady said, ‘Let’s just pull it back in a pony tail.’ So they did that.”

RELATED: ‘Cobra Kai’ Season 4: Terry Silver Actor Thomas Ian Griffith Shares Emotional Memories of Pat Morita from ‘The Karate Kid Part III’

Griffith was responsible for his costume. 

“Then they handed me my costume which was like this brand new white gi and fake black belt,” Griffith said. “I was like, ‘I feel so iuncomfortable in this.’ I call Mary and said, ‘Just bring me my black gi.’ because I was working out and teaching Tae Kwon Do. So she ran it over, so I put it on, walked on set, my own gi, my own belt and it was like okay, let’s bring it on.”

Thomas Ian Griffith almost missed his audition

Had Griffith not appeared in The Karate Kid Part III, Cobra Kai would be bringing somebody else back for season 4. Griffith almost did miss his audition.

Cobra Kai: Daniel fights Kreese in the dojo
L-R: Ralph Macchio and Martin Kove | Curtis Bonds Baker/Netflix

RELATED: ‘Cobra Kai’ Season 4: Terry Silver Actor Thomas Ian Griffith Had Retired From Acting Before Reprising His Role

“Mary and I were Christmas shopping,” Griffith said. “We were going back east for the holidays and I missed an audition. Those were the days you had to check into your message machine. I was supposed to be there by 5 at the latest and it was like 10 after 5. I’m just going to go. So we drove to the casting person’s office and I remember [casting director] Caro Jones was like, ‘Oh, it’s over but you’re here.’ God Bless her, she was like, ‘Just read the scene for me.’” Gave me the pages. I looked at them for five minutes, walked in. She responded to something.”

Source: Cobra Kai Kompanion podcast