Cobra Kai star William Zabka posts heartfelt tribute to late Karate Kid actor Rob Garrison
Johnny has a final message for his old pal Tommy: William Zabka (YouTube’s Cobra Kai) on Saturday posted a heartfelt tribute to Rob Garrison, his costar from The Karate Kid movies who died Friday at 59.
Garrison first played Tommy opposite Zabka’s Johnny in the 1984 hit Karate Kid. The two were members of the Cobra Kai team who battled — but ultimately lost to — Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio).
“Yesterday the world lost a beautiful soul and an incredibly gifted actor, and I lost one of my dearest friends — the one and only, Rob Garrison,” Zabka wrote. “Rob and I met when we were auditioning for ‘Karate Kid.’ We instantly connected and became friends while filming the movie. Our friendship grew stronger over the many years since then. Rob was a true thespian — an ‘actors actor.’ Working with him was always natural and effortless. He elevated every scene and moment inside of them. Outside of acting, he was one of the most selfless and wonderful human beings I’ve ever known and I will miss him immensely.
Thank you to all of his fans for the tremendous outpouring of love & respect he’s being shown. I know it means a lot to his family and friends.”
In 2019, Garrison reunited with Zabka for a season 2 episode of Cobra Kai, in which Johnny and his Cobra Kai pals spring Tommy — who’s being treated for cancer — from a hospital and take him camping. He later dies peacefully in his sleep.
The actors “were thrilled to get the chance to put on the masks of these characters again,” exec producer Josh Heald told EW in April. “It was just another layer to this show — all of a sudden, you’re in the woods with a bunch of grown men and you’re crying.”
Garrison is survived by his brother, Patrick.