Rob Garrison, Actor Who Played Tommy in ‘The Karate Kid,’ Dead at 59
Actor Rob Garrison, who was best known for playing Tommy in The Karate Kid, has died at the age of 59.
Garrison’s representative, Rick Henriques, confirmed his death to Rolling Stone, adding via Garrison’s family that the actor had been hospitalized in West Virginia for over a month as he dealt with kidney and liver issues.
“Rob was a great person and ambassador to The Karate Kid legacy,” Henriques said. “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.”
In a statement, Garrison’s Karate Kid co-star, Ralph Macchio, said, “This is a sad day for the Karate Kid / Cobra Kai family. Rob Garrison was a kind gentleman from the first day I met him to the last day we spoke. I am so glad he had the opportunity to show his range and genuine heart with his performance last season on Cobra Kai. His campfire scene in Ep. 206 was truly one of my favorites of Season Two. My thoughts are with his friends and family.”
While Garrison had a small role in The Karate Kid as a member of the Cobra Kai, he delivered one of the most memorable lines in the movie. During the climactic fight, as William Zabka’s Johnny seems to take the lead over Macchio’s Daniel, Tommy can be heard howling, “Get him a body bag, yeah!”
Garrison portrayed Tommy in the 1986 Karate Kid sequel, while he also appeared in a Season Two episode of the reboot series, Cobra Kai, which airs on YouTube. In a statement, YouTube and Sony Pictures Television said, “We are saddened by the sudden passing of Rob Garrison, who delighted Karate Kid and Cobra Kai fans alike throughout the generations. Our thoughts are with his family during this time.”
Outside the Karate Kid franchise, Garrison worked steadily as an actor during the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties. His first role was in 1977’s Starship Invasions, while later he appeared on TV shows like St. Elsewhere, MacGyver and Columbo. More recently, Garrison starred in the 2016 short film, The Static.