/Rob Garrison, who played Tommy in The Karate Kid and Cobra Kai, dies at 59

Rob Garrison, who played Tommy in The Karate Kid and Cobra Kai, dies at 59

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Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) head rival dojos in the exclusive trailer for Season 2 of YouTube’s “Cobra Kai.”
USA TODAY

Rob Garrison, the actor who played Tommy in “The Karate Kid” movies and appeared in the YouTube series “Cobra Kai,” has died at age 59.

Garrison’s manager Rick Henriques confirmed the news Friday with a statement:

“Rob was a great person and ambassador to ‘The Karate Kid’ legacy,” the statement read. “He will be missed by me and everyone he encountered.” 

Tommy was a boisterous member of the villainous Cobra Kai dojo in 1984’s “The Karate Kid” which starred Ralph Macchio as the new kid in town who turns to martial arts in the face of bullying.

Tommy represented the full-on intensity of the Cobra Kai dojo, as seen in the infamous line to his bully teammate Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) during the climatic final fight, “Get him a body bag! Yeah!” 

Garrison’s Tommy also also appeared in the 1986 sequel “The Karate Kid: Part II” and made a memorable cameo in “Cobra Kai.”

“His performance in Season 2 of Cobra Kai, being his last, was simply amazing and he stole the episode,” Henriques said in the statement.

Macchio marked the news of his screen rival passing as  “a sad day for the Karate Kid / Cobra Kai family,” in a statement to USA TODAY.

“Rob Garrison was a kind gentleman from the first day I met him to the last day we spoke,” Macchio said in the statement. “I am so glad he had the opportunity to show his range and genuine heart with his performance last season on ‘Cobra Kai’…My thoughts are with his friends and family” 

“Cobra Kai” co-creator Jon Hurwitz paid tribute to Garrison with a series of poignant tweets, saying that “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.”

‘Cobra Kai’ season two trailer: Watch the action

“I’ll never forget how moved the entire cast and crew was by Rob’s brilliant and heartfelt performance by the campfire,” he wrote, later adding, “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.”

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