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.”
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 in “The 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.
Thanks everyone for your wonderful comments on my appearance in COBRA KAI. Makes me feel great. Had a wonderful time doing it.— Rob Garrison (@therobgarrison) April 25, 2019
Following the actor’s death, “Cobra Kai” writer and producer Jon Hurwitz paid tribute to Garrison on social media.
Our entire Karate Kid/Cobra Kai family is devastated by the news of OG Cobra Rob Garrison's passing. He was a truly gifted performer and an even better man. My heart goes out to Rob's family during this difficult time. #RIP pic.twitter.com/aDiXcQ5ROu— Jon Hurwitz (@jonhurwitz) September 27, 2019
I'll never forget how moved the entire cast and crew was by Rob's brilliant and heartfelt performance by the campfire. I'll also never forget the laughs we shared later that night over beers as the gang told stories, including some gems Rob had from the set of Iron Eagle. pic.twitter.com/sgPCOBKIxA— Jon Hurwitz (@jonhurwitz) September 27, 2019
I'm heartened to know how much Rob enjoyed and cherished his time working on Cobra Kai. We were looking forward to seeing his smiling face again this season, as we had plans for Tommy to ride again. But he'll remain in our thoughts every day as we strive to make him proud. #RIP pic.twitter.com/QBjcfJPMq4— Jon Hurwitz (@jonhurwitz) September 27, 2019
Garrison is survived by his brother, Patrick, and his wife, Linda.
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