Karate Kid and Cobra Kai star Robert Garrison is dead at 59 after health struggle
Robert Garrison, who played Tommy in the Karate Kid films, died Friday at age 59, according to TMZ.
The actor had been in a West Virginia hospital and specialty facility in Pennsylvania for some time dealing with multiple health issues, according to his family.
In addition to his Karate Kid role, Robert was known for a variety of TV appearances, including in the Karate Kid YouTube series Cobra Kai.
Gone too soon: Robert Garrison, best known for playing Tommy in the Karate Kid films, died Friday at age 59
Big break: Garrison played Tommy (third from left), one of the members of the Cobra Kai dojo, where students were taught a violent and unethical form of karate
Robert spent more than a month in those hospitals while suffering problems with his kidneys and liver, according to his sister–in–law.
The actor’s family are reportedly in the process of planning funeral arrangements.
His biggest role was in the 1984 martial arts drama The Karate Kid, which starred Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita.
Garrison played Tommy, one of the members of the Cobra Kai dojo, where students were taught a violent and unethical form of karate.
In the movie’s 1986 sequel, he’s responsible for the infamous line: ‘Get him a body bag! Yeah!’
After a long break in acting work, he returned to the franchise with YouTube’s sequel series Cobra Kai.
Classic: In the Karate Kid’s 1986 sequel, Robert was responsible for the infamous line: ‘Get him a body bag! Yeah!’
The return: After a long break in acting work, he returned to the franchise with YouTube’s sequel series Cobra Kai; pictured with William Zabka (L)
Robert began his career with a string of roles in small films and TV shows, though he didn’t break out until the success of The Karate Kid.
The movie helped popularize karate and the martial arts in general in the US, and it earned star Pat Morita an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
The film has been celebrated for its warm tone and strong performances and has come to be celebrated as a classic of 1980s popular filmmaking.
Big roles: Garrison’s Karate Kid role earned him guest spots on MacGyver, Columbo and Coach; Robert (L) pictured with Cobra Kai stars (L-R) William Babka, Tony O’Dell and Ron Thomas
Garrison’s role in The Karate Kid and it’s sequel opened up recurring parts on other TV series including St. Elsewhere, MacGyver, Columbo and Coach.
His acting output slowed in the early 1990s, with his last role of the decade in 1995.
He made a brief return to acting with a role in the 2011 film The Pledge, but he didn’t return to the screen again until earlier this year with an episode for the second season of YouTube Premium’s Cobra Kai.
Good feedback: ‘Thanks everyone for your wonderful comments on my appearance in COBRA KAI. Makes me feel great. Had a wonderful time doing it,’ Robert (M) tweeted after his second season episode aired; pictured with (L-R) Ron Thomas, Tony O’Dell, William Babka and Martin Kove
The series follows original villain Johnny Lawrence (William Babka) as he reopens the Cobra Kai dojo while trying to move away from his past missteps.
Original star Ralph Macchio also reprises his role in the series, which finds the two adults resuming their rivalry.
‘Thanks everyone for your wonderful comments on my appearance in COBRA KAI. Makes me feel great. Had a wonderful time doing it,’ Robert tweeted after his second season episode aired.
Robert is survived by his brother Patrick and his sister–in–law Linda.
Patrick told TMZ: ‘My brother was a fun-loving guy. He enjoyed people and he enjoyed life. He liked to have fun and make people laugh up until the very end. He will definitely be missed.’