'Karate Kid' actor Robert Garrison dies at 59

Rob Garrison, the actor best known for his role as Tommy in “The Karate Kid “and its sequel, has died at 59.

“Rob was a great person and ambassador to ‘The Karate Kid’ legacy,” his rep said in a statement to Yahoo Entertainment. “His performance in Season 2 of ‘Cobra Kai,’ being his last, was simply amazing and he stole the episode. He will be missed by me and everyone he encountered.”

Rob Garrison was part of "The Karate Kid" franchise. (Photo: Columbia Pictures)
Rob Garrison was part of "The Karate Kid" franchise. (Photo: Columbia Pictures)

Garrison’s sister-in-law told TMZ that he died Friday at a hospital in his native West Virginia, where he had been treated for liver and kidney issues over the past month.

Garrison has acted since the late ‘70s, playing parts in both horror film “Prom Night” and the drama “Brubaker,” alongside Robert Redford in 1980. He went on to appear in the 1986 movie “Iron Eagle” and TV shows including “MacGyver,” “Coach” and “St. Elsewhere.”

But it was “Karate Kid” for which he was most recognized. His character, one of the guys bullying hero Daniel (played by Ralph Macchio), memorably tells William Zabka’s Johnny to put Daniel “in a body bag,” during their showdown at the karate meet.

Garrison reprised his role inThe Karate Kid Part II” in 1986 and, in April, when an episode of the “Karate Kid” reboot “Cobra Kai” featured several of Johnny’s old friends. The plot had the gang taking Tommy out of the hospital, where he was being treated for cancer, to take a road trip. They end up camping, and Tommy dies in his sleep.

The experience meant a lot to Garrison.

Following the actor’s death, “Cobra Kai” writer and producer Jon Hurwitz paid tribute to Garrison on social media.

Garrison is survived by his brother, Patrick, and his wife, Linda.

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