Thomas “Tiny” Lister Jr., the giant, musclebound actor who rose to fame through his portrayal of neighborhood bully Deebo in the cult classic movie “Friday,” has died. He was 62 years old.
TMZ reported the news of Lister’s death first.
Lister, known equally for both his famous grimace as well as his infectious smile, was reportedly found dead Thursday in his apartment in Marina Del Rey, California.
There was no cause of death immediately reported.
Condolences were pouring in across social media expressing sorrow at the unexpected loss of an iconic figure to so many people who grew up watching Lister on the big and small screens.
RIP Tiny Lister, aka Deebo, aka Zeus, aka President Lindberg, aka Winston the bail bondsman. One of the greatest movie villains of all time. Without saying a word, his scowl and sneer sent everyone into hiding. No one ever ever looked more terrifying in a Pendleton. What a legend pic.twitter.com/O9EbQHki5k
— Otto Von Biz Markie (@Passionweiss) December 11, 2020
Lister’s final social media post from Tuesday paid tribute to a professional football player who was named for his legendary character in “Friday” as well as Ice Cube, the mastermind behind the 1995 movie.
“I see You @19problemz. Deebo Samuels Baddest In the Game,” Lister captioned a video showing Tyshun Raequan “Deebo” Samuel, a pro football player with the san Francisco 49ers. “S/o to Deebo Samuels @19problemz @icecube @bigtinydebo.”
Aside from his muscular physique, one of Lister’s other recognizable traits was what appeared to be his lazy right eye. He explained in an interview with Grantland in 2014 that he was actually blind in that eye and that he overexaggerated his cross-eyed appearance for his acting roles that often involved playing brutes.
The 6-foot-5, 285-pound mammoth was a much more killed of an actor that folks gave him credit for, Eric Roberts, a fellow actor who appeared alongside Lister in four movies, said.
“He can go from that innocent look to absolute danger in a blink of an eye,” Roberts said. “When he looks angry, you feel anger.”
Lister’s death came just days after that of another cult favorite actress, Natalie Desselle-Reid. She died Monday at the age of 52 following a battle with colon cancer. Desselle-Reid helped popularize the term B.A.P.S (Black American Princesses) in a movie of the same name starring alongside Halle Berry in 1997.
This is a developing story and will be updated as additional information becomes available.
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