He is best known for his role as hard-nosed Karate sensei John Kreese in the Karate Kid film series. Kove appeared as Cully in the 1967-1969 Columbia Broadcasting System series, Gentle Ben, with Dennis Weaver and Clint Howard. He was cast as George Baker in the short-lived Columbia Broadcasting System series Code R (1977) about the emergency services (fire, police, and ocean rescue) in the California Channel Islands.
His co-stars were James Houghton, Tom Simcox, and Joan Freeman.
He also starred in the short-lived science fiction series Hard Time on Planet Earth and made guest appearances on several television programs including Gunsmoke, Three for the Road, Kojak, Quincy, M. East., The Incredible Hulk, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, The Streets of San Francisco, and Black Scorpion. Kove was a cast member on the 1982–1988 Columbia Broadcasting System television series Cagney & Lacey as Detective Victor Isbecki.
Kove appeared in the 1984 hit film The Karate Kid as Cobra Kai sensei John Kreese. After playing a traitorous helicopter pilot in the 1985 film Rambo: First Blood Participant II, he reprised his role as Kreese in the 1986 sequel The Karate Kid, Participant II and the 1989 sequel The Karate Kid, Participant III. He studied Okinawa-te Karate under prominent black belt Gordon Doversola Shihan.
Kove appeared in Kung Fu: The Legend Continues as the Shadow Assassin in Episode 3, Season 1, "Shadow Assassin", which aired on 3 February 1993, and in Episode 23, Season 2, which aired on 26 January 1994.
In 2007, Kove appeared in the Number More Kings video "Sweep The Legal", in a parody of his Karate Kid character. He appeared on Tosh.0 as his character from The Karate Kid, John Kreese, where he spoofed the final fight on the "Board Breaker Web Redemption". At the end of the skit, Daniel Tosh, dressed as Mr.
Miyagi, honks Kove"s nose, a reference to Mr.
Miyagi"s action in the scene at the beginning of The Karate Kid, Participant World War II