Tommy “Tiny” Lister, an actor and former professional wrestler who is best known for his roles in “Friday” and “The Fifth Element” passed away on Thursday, his manager Cindy Cowan confirmed to the press. He was 62 years old.
According to Cowan, Lister was found unresponsive in his apartment in Marina del Rey, Calif. after displaying symptoms of COVID-19 in recent days. He had been working on a film and had to cancel shooting after getting sick, Cowan told reporters.
“He was a wonderful guy with a heart of gold. Everyone loved him. A real gentle giant,” she said, “We’re all devastated.”
He was best known for his roles as the neighborhood bully Deebo in the 1995 film Friday and its 2000 sequel and as President Lindberg in The Fifth Element.
GOT DAMN 2020 DONE TOOK OUT DEBO 😪😞🙏🏾 RIP TOMMY “TINY”LESTER pic.twitter.com/JKAKKUKkoB
— DJ DRE | #GetEmDre (@DjDre1990) December 11, 2020
He had two short professional wrestling stints, wrestling Hulk Hogan in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) after appearing as Greg Harper in the 1989 movie No Holds Barred and resuming the feud as Z-Gangsta in 1996 for World Championship Wrestling (WCW).
Lister’s film roles included playing a prisoner in The Dark Knight, Austin Powers in Goldmember and The Human Centipede 3 (Final Sequence). Lister was featured in The Fifth Element as the Galactic President. He appeared in the Adam Sandler film Little Nicky as Nicky’s older brother Cassius.
Lister was the main police officer in Chamillionaire’s “Ridin'” video, and reprised his role as a police officer in Chamillionaire’s 2012 single Show Love.
He has also appeared in the Ice Cube videos for “Friday” (from the Friday soundtrack) and “You Can Do It” (from the Next Friday soundtrack). Lister appeared via both original footage and film clips from the movie.
5th Element President… Tom Lister Jr. RIP.2020 pic.twitter.com/8JI3cknrSC
— GMTauriac (@DDC4America) December 11, 2020
He was also in the videos for Young Bleed’s “How You Do Dat”; French Montana’s “I Told ‘Em” and 50 Cent’s “Many Men (Wish Death)”. Lister also portrayed Sancho in the Sublime music video “Santeria”.
In the Quentin Tarantino film Jackie Brown, he played bail agent Winston, who “finds people who don’t want to be found”. In 2015, Lister filmed Busy Day in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The film was produced by Tamás Nádas. Lister had a supporting role in the 2016 Disney animated movie Zootopia as the voice of the diminutive fennec fox, Finnick. He also appeared in a commercial that year for Ball Park-brand beef jerky, advertised as “tough, but tender.”
The athletic department of Lister’s alma mater Cal State LA sponsors an annual track meet in his name.
Rest in Peace Mr. Tom Lister Jr. aka DEEBO, thank you for entertaining us and making us laugh. pic.twitter.com/F8JRI0MXMS
— Cord Cutter #Xedplex (@XedPlex) December 11, 2020