The Karate Kid actors maintained a relationship with each other since the filming of the original 1984 film. Ralph Macchio and William Zabka serve as co-executive producers of the YouTube series Cobra Kai, about to enter its third season, where they reprise their roles of Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence respectively.
Rob Garrison became the most famous of the Cobra Kai toadies with his famous like from the original picture, “Get him a body bag, yeah.” Mr. Garrison got to reprise the role of Tommy in Season 2, Episode 6 of Cobra Kai, “Take a Right.” In that episode, the original Cobra Kai actors reprised their characters who re-united for one final camping trip for Tommy, who was dying of cancer; Tommy passed away during the trip and was seen being zipped into a body bag.
The somber tone of the episode and the re-introduction of the Tommy character only to have him die suggested that there may have been behind the scenes difficulties. Sure enough, Rob Garrison succumbed to a deadly illness which caused organ failure on September 27, 2019 at the age of 59. Clearly, Mr. Macchio and Mr. Zabka caught wind of the Mr. Garrison’s terminal condition and sought to give him an adequate send off in the show.
What little has been reported about Mr. Garrison’s private life indicates that his role as Tommy seemed the defining moment of his existence. He pretty much gave up acting after 1987. Only one satirical news outlet reported on him and an unsubstantiated obsession with body bags. As reported in the 2012 article, Mr. Garrison requested a body bag for his birthday gift every year since 1989. He apparently had a collection of them and would ask cite them as the item to get him for people seeking to give him a gift.
Apparently, Mr. Garrison had a YouTube channel at one point, which I was unable to find, so it may also be satirical.
Our condolences to Rob Garrison’s family, friends, and fans.
Thanks everyone for your wonderful comments on my appearance in COBRA KAI. Makes me feel great. Had a wonderful time doing it.
— Rob Garrison (@therobgarrison) April 25, 2019
UPDATE: This post was updated to reflect various inaccuracies and elements of satire reported as fact in the original post.