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Tommy Lister, 'Friday' Star, Dead At 62

The token "bad guy" appeared in several blockbuster films.

Tommy Lister

Actor Tommy "Tiny" Lister, best known for his role of Deebo in the Friday franchise, has died. Lister had been experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, his manager Cindy Cowan told People. He was 62.

"He was just really complaining, but he was too weak to go to the doctor," Cowan said in a statement.

According to Cowan, a friend went to check in on Lister at his home after not answering several phone calls. Lister was found unresponsive at his apartment in Marina Del Rey, California, as first reported by TMZ. The outlet reported that Lister was pronounced dead at the scene.

Lister was scheduled to be on set for a film shoot over the weekend, but canceled on Friday due to his illness, Cowan said.

"He was a gentle giant and one-of-a-kind," Cowan said of her beloved client. "A man that's like been a brother to me for 20 years."

"RIP Tiny 'Deebo' Lister," Friday co-star and creator Ice Cube wrote on Twitter. "America’s favorite bully was a born entertainer who would pop into character at the drop of a hat terrifying people on and off camera. Followed by a big smile and laugh. Thank you for being a good dude at heart. I miss you already."

Lister's film career began in the 1980s with appearances in films like Blue City, Runaway Train, and Beverly Hills Cop II.

In 1989, Lister appeared alongside professional wrestling icon Hulk Hogan in the World Wrestling Federation's film No Holds Barred. He went on to wrestle for the company World Championship Wrestling (WCW) under the moniker Z-Gangsta.

In 1995, Lister landed the role of Deebo in Friday alongside Ice Cube and Chris Tucker. He reprised his role as the hilarious bully in the sequel Next Friday in 2000. While best known for his appearances in the Friday franchise, Lister also landed roles in blockbuster films like Jackie Brown, Austin Powers in Goldmember, The Fifth Element, and the Oscar-winning The Dark Knight.

On the small screen, Lister appeared on hit shows like Matlock, Perfect Strangers, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Moesha and The Jamie Foxx Show.

During his career, he also lent his voiceover talents to Fox's The Cleveland Show and Disney's animated hit Zootopia.

Lister even made cameos in music videos for artists like Michael Jackson, 50 Cent, Chamillionaire, Iggy Azalea, Akon, and Ice Cube, of course.

- Matt Bishop


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