Rob Garrison

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Rob Garrison
Robert Scott Garrison

(1960-01-23)January 23, 1960
DiedSeptember 27, 2019(2019-09-27) (aged 59)
Wheeling, West Virginia, U.S.
Years active1977–2019
Known forThe Karate Kid
Cobra Kai

Robert Scott Garrison (January 23, 1960 – September 27, 2019) was an American actor, best known for his role as Tommy in the 1984 film The Karate Kid, and the second season of its spinoff Cobra Kai (the 2018 YouTube web series based on the adult lives of the Karate Kid characters). During the climactic fight between Daniel LaRusso and Johnny in The Karate Kid, Garrison delivers the memorable line, "Get him a body bag, yeah."

Garrison started his acting career in the 1970s, and continued steadily over the 1980s and 1990s. He acted in The Karate Kid Part II (released 1986), Brubaker (1980), and Iron Eagle. He also had roles in the television shows Coach, St Elsewhere, MacGyver, and Kung Fu: The Legend Continues.


Garrison was born on January 23, 1960 and raised in Wheeling, West Virginia.[1] He first became involved in acting at Wheeling Park High School, and also had a small role in Starship Invasions (1977)[2] before graduating in 1978.[3] He then studied theater at Ohio University on a full scholarship,[3] and received a small role as a convict in Robert Redford's prison film Brubaker (1980). After graduating from Ohio University in 1982, he was cast as Tommy in the 1984 film The Karate Kid, although both he and William Zabka tried out for the role of Johnny.[3][4] Garrison reprised this role during the 2019 Season 2 YouTube web series Cobra Kai.[5][6] His Karate Kid character Tommy is remembered for delivering the line "Get him a body bag, yeah!" during the climactic fight between Ralph Macchio's Daniel LaRusso and Zabka's Johnny Lawrence in the original Karate Kid film.[7] He later stated that the line, heard while his character is offscreen, was not a part of the original script: "My famous line, I never said that while filming. I looped that in two months later. I was in the recording booth with John [Avildsen] and he said he needed two seconds of something. I said, 'Get him a body bag!' on the first try. John said 'That's going to be a classic. You'll never be forgotten because of that line.'"[8][3]

Garrison continued his acting career over the 1980s and 1990s, appearing in films such as The Karate Kid Part II (1986) and Iron Eagle (1986).[9][2] He also had roles in the television shows Coach, St Elsewhere, MacGyver and Kung Fu: The Legend Continues.[5][6]

In the later part of his life, acting was no longer his full time work.[3] He acted in The Pledge (2011) and the short film titled The Static released in 2016.[9] He interacted with his fans via social media, where he expressed his desire to act in the third season of the YouTube Originals series Cobra Kai.[9] Cobra Kai series is based on the adult lives of the characters in The Karate Kid, and takes place decades after the timeline of the original movie.[2][10] Season 2 of Cobra Kai, in which he reprised the role of Tommy, was his last performance.[4][2] After his death, Cobra Kai producer Jon Hurwitz revealed that Garrison was potentially scheduled to appear in Season 3 of Cobra Kai.[4]

Garrison died on September 27, 2019, at the age of 59.[1][2] He had been admitted for over a month in a West Virginia hospital for treatment of kidney and liver issues, when his organs shut down.[4]

Selected filmography[edit]


TV guest appearances[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Robert Scott Garrison: Kepner Funeral Homes Burke Chapel Obituary". Retrieved September 28, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f France, Lisa. "Rob Garrison, 'Karate Kid' actor, dead at 59". CNN. Retrieved September 28, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e Ayres, Eric (December 5, 2014). "Stage Is Home to Garrison". The Intelligencer and Wheeling News Register. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Wheat, Lorraine (September 27, 2019). "'The Karate Kid' Actor Rob Garrison Dies at 59". Variety. Retrieved September 28, 2019.
  5. ^ a b Evans, Greg (September 27, 2019). "Robert Garrison Dies: 'The Karate Kid' Actor Was 59". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  6. ^ a b "R.I.P. 'Karate Kid' Star Robert Garrison Dies After Long Health Battle". Radar Online. September 27, 2019. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  7. ^ a b Blistein, Jon (September 27, 2019). "Rob Garrison, Actor Who Played Tommy in 'The Karate Kid,' Dead at 59". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 28, 2019.
  8. ^ Prewitt, Alex (May 1, 2018). "The Crane Kick Is Bogus: A Karate Kid Oral History". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  9. ^ a b c d e "What the Karate Kid Cast Looks Like Today". Light Novel. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
  10. ^ "Rob Garrison, Karate Kid Actor, Dead at 59". Retrieved October 1, 2019.
  11. ^ Bicks, Emily (September 27, 2019). "Rob Garrison Cause of Death: How Did the 'Karate Kid' Star Die?". Heavy. Retrieved September 28, 2019.

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