Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister: Wrestler and actor dies aged 62

Tommy “Tiny” Lister, a former wrestler and actor well-known for playing Deebo in the comedy film Friday, has died aged 62.

Lister was found unconscious at his Marina Del Rey home in Los Angeles County, California, on Thursday afternoon, his manager Cindy Cowan said.

He was pronounced dead at the scene, she added.

during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 22, 2015 in Fontana, California.
Image:Lister poses with a fan during the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

The coroner is investigating the cause of death.

Ms Cowan said Lister overcame COVID-19 earlier this year but became sick about a week ago and developed breathing troubles.

She described Lister as “a gentle giant”, adding: “He had a smile as broad as you could imagine.

“He’s going to be missed by so many. We’re all devastated.”

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Lister started his career as a wrestler, standing 6ft 5in with broad shoulders and weighing 275lb.

His early roles included in HBO football series 1st & Ten, Beverly Hills Cop II with Eddie Murphy, and No Holds Barred, the 1989 film where his character Zeus challenged Hulk Hogan in wrestling.

I’m dedicating my page today as a Tribute to my close friend ‘Tiny Lister’ aka Debo, aka Zeus, aka Cleatus.. Gone far to soon. Rest easy Big Homie 💔Love U pic.twitter.com/bTL3HZDZaM

— ICE T (@FINALLEVEL) December 11, 2020

But his most famous appearance was playing the tough felon, Deebo, in the 1995 film Friday and its sequel five years later.

Deebo was a neighbourhood bully who terrorised and intimidated residents. He spoke the infamous line: “Get knocked out like your father used to”.

Lister also acted in The Fifth Element, The Dark Knight and Austin Powers in Goldmember.

Ice Cube was among the celebrities who posted tributes online. He wrote on Twitter: “RIP Tiny ‘Deebo’ Lister. America’s favourite 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.”

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

Rapper Ice-T posted a series of photos of Lister on Twitter, alongside the words: “I’m dedicating my page today as a Tribute to my close friend ‘Tiny Lister’ aka Debo, aka Zeus, aka Cleatus.. Gone far to(sic) soon. Rest easy Big Homie.”

Entertainer and rapper Otto Von Biz Markie tweeted the words: “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.”

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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