Anthony Johnson, the comedian and actor who played the memorable Ezal in Friday, has died, his rep LyNea Bell confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter. He was 55.
No additional information about his passing was disclosed.
“We lost an icon. He will be greatly missed,” Bell told THR. “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.”
Sometimes credited as “A.J. Johnson,” the actor appeared in several television shows and films, including House Party, Menace II Society and Lethal Weapon 3. He also appeared in the I Got the Hook-Up film series. The comic-actor had credits for such TV shows as Martin and Malcolm & Eddie.
A Compton, California native, the stand-up comic got his big break in 1990 when he landed the role of E.Z.E. in the Kid ‘n Play classic House Party. He would also appear in House Party 3.
Johnson is arguably best known for his hilarious performance as Ezal in 1995’s Friday; a character in the Ice Cube and Chris Tucker classic who was usually stealing or scheming for a quick buck, like his fake slip and fall in the corner store.
“Sad to wake up to the news about A.J. 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…,” Ice Cube said via Twitter.
Johnson was trending on Twitter Monday as news of his death broke, fans sharing their shock and sorrow.
Johnson is survived by his wife, three children and brother.