Tommy “Tiny” Lister, the professional wrestler-turned-actor perhaps best known for his turn as the bully Deebo in the “Friday” films, passed away on Thursday, his manager confirmed. He was 62.
Lister was found unconscious in his Marina Del Rey home on Thursday afternoon, authorities said. He was pronounced dead on the scene and there is no word as of yet as to the cause of death.
Lister — who stood 6 feet, 5 inches tall — started his career as a wrestler before moving on to films. His early roles included “Beverly Hills Cop II,” “No Holds Barred” and the HBO football series “1st & Ten.”
After his appearance in “No Holds Barred” — which starred Hulk Hogan — he transferred the Zeus character from the film over the wrestling ring. He wrestled against Hogan as part of a tag team match at SummerSlam in 1989, where he was pinned by Hogan. His final appearance in the WWF came later that year, in another loss to Hogan.
Lister’s biggest role came when he got to flex his comedy muscles as the neighborhood bully Deebo in 1995’s “Friday” and 2000’s “Next Friday” and as President Lindberg in Luc Besson’s 1997 sci-fi film “The Fifth Element.” That year, he also played a bail agent in Quentin Tarantino’s “Jackie Brown.”
In addition, Lister had parts in “The Dark Knight,” “Confidence,” “Austin Powers in Goldmember,” and did the voice of Finnick in “Zootopia.”
The WWE released a statement Thursday night, saying it was “saddened” by his passing and adding that the “WWE extends its condolences to Lister’s family, friends and fans.”
“Friday” co-star Ice Cube also paid tribute: “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.“