RIP. Robert Garrison, the actor best known for playing Tommy in 1984’s The Karate Kid, has died at the age of 59. Tommy’s most memorable quote from the classic is, of course, “Get him a body bag! Yeah!”
The late star’s sister-in-law said his death wasn’t sudden as he had been in a West Virginia hospital for more than a month due to kidney and liver issues, according to TMZ. It seems as though Robert’s organs eventually failed him.
Robert’s family is now planning funeral arrangements, the site noted.
Before making it big in the Ralph Macchio-starring martial arts film, Robert started as a child star in the ’70s. Not only did he play Tommy in the original, he returned in the 1986 sequel, The Karate Kid Part II — also directed by John G. Avildsen. Then, on top of that, just this year he reprised the character one more time for an episode of YouTube’s Cobra Kai series.
“Thanks everyone for your wonderful comments on my appearance in COBRA KAI. Makes me feel great,” Robert tweeted in April 2019, the day after the season he is featured in dropped. “Had a wonderful time doing it.”
It also seemed as though he was a huge fan of the first season, which is probably a reason why he appeared in season 2.
“Just finished watching the first season of @CobraKaiSeries. Phenomenal. The creators have taken the legend of a movie and put it on its ear and kept the soul of the show intact. So proud to be a part of the legend. @ralphmacchio @WilliamZabka,” he tweeted back in May 2018. “Please watch this.”
Aside from The Karate Kid franchise, Robert appeared in TV shows like MacGyver, Columbo, and Coach.
While we’re not entirely sure how Robert felt about being in The Karate Kid (though it seemed he had nothing but love for it), Ralph has been open about how it was both a “blessing” and a “curse” at time.
“Right now it’s a blessing,” he told Closer Weekly in May 2019. “It was a curse maybe 10 or 15 years ago when I was still trying to graduate out of playing 16, but considering the alternative, I guess it’s a good thing.”
Our thoughts go out to Robert’s family and friends during this sad time.