This beloved actor died on Friday after a short but intense battle with kidney and liver problems, according to his sister-in-law. His rep, Rick Henriques, later confirmed the story to be true.
Robert Garrison, best known for his role as Tommy in Karate Kid, was just 59 at the time of his passing.
Garrison is without a doubt best known for his role as Tommy in the Karate Kid movies. The first Karate Kid from 1984 was an instant success, and he made an appearance in the second from 1986 reprising his role.
Tommy was a member of Cobra Kai, who loved punishing Daniel, the main character played by Ralph Macchio. According to an interview with Garrison, his most famous line – “Get him a body bag!” – wasn’t done live on set at all, but recorded months later in a studio as they were editing the movie.
He was asked by the director, John Avildsen, to say something. They just needed a few seconds of a line to fill a ‘blank’ spot. His first attempt was his most famous line, and John immediately said “That’s going to be classic. You’ll never be forgotten because of that line.”
He wasn’t wrong.
Garrison was a child actor before starring in The Karate Kid and had roles in shows and movies like Starship Invasions and The Best of Times. After The Karate Kid, Garrison went on to continue acting for many years.
He was in an episode of MacGyver, The Munsters Today, Columbo, and even Coach. Garrison never really “made it big”, however, and Tommy continues to be his biggest role.
When word that the Cobra Kai web show would actually happen, a fan “leaked” online that Garrison would be coming back to reprise his role yet again as Tommy. He replied saying “I wish”, implying that he had not been chosen.
It ended up working out in Garrison’s favor, however, because he did appear in the second season of the web streaming show as Tommy. It was just a cameo role, but he was able to film it before his passing.
According to his sister-in-law, Linda, Garrison had suffered for over a month with kidney and liver issues that landed him in the hospital. His passing was not a surprise to his family, who knew that he was struggling.
While no official cause of death has been released yet, Linda shared that his organ’s simply ‘shut down’.
He is survived by his brother, Patrick, and his sister-in-law Linda.