Tommy “Tiny” Lister, an actor best known for his role as the menacing “Deebo” in the Friday film franchise, has died after battling COVID-19, his manager confirmed to Urban Hollywood 411. Lister was 62.
The actor was found unresponsive Thursday inside his apartment in Marina del Rey, Calif.
“He couldn’t breathe. He was having a really hard time,” Lister’s manager, Cindy Cowan, said. “Today, nobody could get him on the phone and a mutual friend went over to check on him and found him.”
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide investigators responded on Thursday afternoon.
“The incident was reported Thursday, December 10, 2020, at approximately 2:50 p.m., on the 4100 block of Via Marina, in Marina del Rey,” the sheriff’s department said in a news release.
Sheriff’s officials did not identify the individual who was found deceased, however, Cowan confirmed that Lister lived at the address.
She said the actor had “untreated” coronavirus, meaning he did not receive treatment at a hospital. He started feeling sick a week ago and quickly worsened, Cowan said. “He went really quick.”
Lister was supposed to begin filming a new movie last weekend and had been excited about the project, but he became too ill to work, according to Cowan.
She said the two had been friends for years and she was the godmother to Lister’s daughter.
“Tiny was larger than life. He was a big teddy bear,” Cowan said. “He was my best friend.”
Lister was born in Compton in 1958. The actor, who was blind in his right eye, appeared in Friday (1995) and the sequel Next Friday (2000). He also had roles in I Got the Hook Up 2 (2019), Zootopia (2016), and The Dark Knight (2008). In addition to acting, he wrestled in the World Wrestling Federation in the 1980s, under the names “Zeus” and “ZGangsta.”
Ice Cube, who co-wrote and starred in the Friday films, shared a tribute to the late actor Thursday evening on social media.
“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,” Ice Cube tweeted. “Followed by a big smile and laugh. Thank you for being a good dude at heart. I miss you already.”
Lister is survived by his daughter.
The image above is courtesy of Shutterstock