Actor Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister, who memorably played Deebo in classic 90s film Friday, has died at the age of 62. Per AP News, Lister’s manager, Cindy Cowan, said he was found unconscious in his home in Marina Del Rey, California, on Thursday afternoon and was pronounced dead on the scene. According to Cowan, Lister contracted COVID-19 earlier this year. She said the actor beat the virus, but he fell ill this past week and had trouble breathing. As of yet, the cause of death has not been released, and the coroner’s office is investigating.
Lister was born in Compton, California in 1958, and due to a detached and deformed, was born blind in his right eye. At 6-foot 5 and 275 pounds, Lister was quite the opposite of his nickname, “Tiny,” with Cowan describing him as “a gentle giant” who “had a smile as broad as you could imagine.” Lister wrestled professionally under the name Z-Gangsta before pivoting to a career in acting. In 1995, he landed his breakout role as the neighborhood bully Deebo in Friday and would go on to play the same character in the sequel Next Friday five years later. Outside of the Friday films, Lister played President Lindberg in the sci-fi action film The Fifth Element, appeared in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, and voiced the character Finnick in the animated film Zootopia. Lister’s Friday co-star Ice Cube took to social media to remember the actor. “RIP Tiny “Deebo” Lister. 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.”