Michael Dudikoff is an international star thanks to his karate-kicking roles in the four "American Ninja" flicks, as well as "Human Shield" and "Platoon Leader." And now he is co-starring as a charming psycho killer opposite Susan Lucci in the ABC thriller "The Woman Who Sinned," airing Sunday.
But off-screen, Dudikoff says he's just a shy, quiet guy from Redondo Beach who wanted to be a child psychologist.
"I never wanted to be an actor," he admits. "I never even knew how they put it (shows) on the TV tube." He was discovered over a decade ago by an agent while working as a waiter to put himself through Harbor College. As a model, "I made good money, got some clothes and there were beautiful women. I was very successful at it and was up to making $2,500 a day."
While still attending school, he landed his first acting job on "Happy Days" and did guest shots on several sitcoms, co-starring with Brian Dennehy in the short-lived 1982 comedy "Star of the Family."
Dudikoff's career changed when he went on an audition for Cannon's "American Ninja." But now he hopes to put those days behind him.
"I want to do some good movies now," Dudikoff says. "When I watch these movies and I see Kevin Costner, De Niro and Pacino, I see myself doing the same thing. I just have to be given the chance."