Anthony Johnson, an actor and comedian best known for his role as Ezal in Friday, has died at age 55. There has been no word yet on the cause of death.
Johnson’s rep LyNea Bell confirmed the news of his passing to The Hollywood Reporter in a statement which read:
“We lost an icon. He will be greatly missed. He has left with us amazing memories of his laughter, dynamic acting skills, but most of all his enormous personality and heart of gold. We will be in constant prayer for his entire family including his wife Lexis, three children, brother Edward ‘Peanut’ Smith, sister Sheila, and lifetime manager and friend Mike D. Please give them the time they need to process and grieve such a huge loss.
Johnson, a Compton native, first came on the scene as E.Z.E. in 1990’s classic Kid’n Play film House Party. He would return four years later for the third installment of the film’s franchise, House Party 3. In 1995, Johnson arguably became a Black household name for his breakout role as Ezal in the Ice Cube and Chris Tucker-helmed comedy Friday.
Upon hearing the news of Johnson’s death, Ice Cube took to Twitter to express his condolences writing:
“Sad to wake up to the news about AJ Johnson passing away. Naturally funny dude who was straight outta Compton at the same time. Sorry I couldn’t bring your character Ezal back to the big screen in Last Friday…”
As one user online pointed out, Johnson’s passing marks yet another blow to the Friday cast, which has lost several of the actors behind its most memorable characters in the last few years. In 2020, Tommy “Tiny” Lister aka “Debo” passed away at the age of 62. The previous year, John Witherspoon, who hilariously played Ice Cube’s dad, died suddenly at 77.
In addition to the aforementioned films, Johnson also appeared in several other films and TV shows including but not limited to: B.A.P.S., Menace to Society, Lethal Weapon 3, The Players Club, I Got The Hook Up, The Jamie Foxx Show, and Martin.
Johnson is survived by his wife Lexis, three children and two siblings. Sending love, thoughts, and prayers to all who knew and loved him.