Tommy “Tiny” Lister has passed away. He was 62-years old. Lister is probably best-known for his role as Deebo in the Friday franchise, starring alongside Ice Cube and Chris Tucker. His manager, Cindy Cowan, confirmed the news of his death this evening. Cowan said he was found unconscious in his apartment in Marina del Rey, California after displaying symptoms of COVID-19 earlier in the week. He had been working on a movie and had to take a breather after feeling ill.
Cindy Cowan says, “He was a wonderful guy with a heart of gold. Everyone loved him. A real gentle giant. We’re all devastated.” Law enforcement says that Tommy “Tiny” Lister was dead before the paramedics could arrive on the scene. While he had COVID-19 symptoms, it has not been confirmed that that was the cause of the actor’s death. Lister, who stood 6 feet, 5 inches tall, started his career in the late 1980s. He took on Hulk Hogan in the World Wrestling Federation and had roles in Beverly Hills Cop 2, No Holds Barred, and the HBO football series 1st & Ten.
When starring in No Holds Barred with Hulk Hogan, Tommy “Tiny” Lister took the Zeus character from the movie and transferred him over to the ring. However, in 1989, he lost to Hulk Hogan at Summer Slam. While he had an imposing appearance, Lister was well-known for having a heart of gold and often took aim at bullies on his social media accounts. In addition to the roles mentioned above, he also starred in The Dark Knight, Confidence, Austin Powers in Goldmember, Jackie Brown, and he provided the voice of Finnick in Zootopia.
While Tommy “Tiny” Lister had a lengthy career, Friday is what most people know him from. In the 1995 movie, he flexed his comedic muscles as Deebo and created a new kind of big screen bully, who nearly seemed inhuman. He was the perfect antagonist for Ice Cube and Chris Tucker in the first installment, which is widely regarded as the best in the franchise, and one of the best comedies of the 1990s. Deebo was often imitated, but nobody ever came close to pulling off what Lister did.
Tommy “Tiny” Lister grew up in Compton, California where he avoided joining gangs and got into religion instead. Lister attended Palomar Junior College before transferring to Long Beach City College for his sophomore year and started really getting into sports. While at Long Beach, he recorded a 52 ft shot put throw, which helped get him a scholarship to California State Los Angeles. From there, Lister was the 1982 NCAA Division II National Shot Put Champion before getting into the Track Club after college. He ended up leaving sports behind to get into acting. TMZ was the first to report on the death of Tommy “Tiny” Lister.