Comedian and Friday actor Anthony “A.J.” Johnson has sadly passed away. According to the funnyman’s nephew, Johnson was found lifeless in a store earlier this month in Los Angeles. Per TMZ, he was rushed to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. As of now, a cause of death hasn’t been revealed, though Johnson reportedl. Johnson was 55 years old.
“The world of Comedy has truly been shaken, again. Our BH Talent family is heartbroken about the loss of the iconic legend of stage and screen Mr. Anthony “AJ” Johnson,” Johnson’s rep LyNea Bell said in a statement, via CNN. “He has left with us amazing memories of his laughter, dynamic acting skills, but most of all his enormous personality and heart of gold.”
NExJNWSRj5imBB||Born in Compton} in 1965, Johnson was working as an actor by his early 20s. His acting career really took off when he picked up the role of E.Z.E. in the 1990 comedy House Party, which was one of the most memorable comedies of its era with Kid ‘n Play, Full Force, and Robin Harris in the lead roles. This success also helped to establish Johnson as a stand-up comic performing at bars in the Los Angeles area.
After House Party, Anthony Johnson appeared in Lethal Weapon 3, Menace II Society, and Panther. He revisited the House Party franchise with another role in 1994’s House Party 3. In 1995, he picked up his most well-known role as the petty thief Ezal in Friday, the franchise-spawning comedy starring Ice Cube and Chris Tucker. After the news of Johnson’s passing was announced, Cube took to Twitter to post a message of tribute, also teasing he would have brought back Ezal in the Friday 4 movie that never got made.
“Sad to wake up to the news about AJ Johnson passing away,” said Ice Cube. “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…”
Anthony Johnson would go on to appear in movies like The Great White Hype, B*A*P*S, Woo, I Got The Hook Up 1 & 2, Hot Boyz, The Players Club, Undercover Princess, and Consequencez. The actor and comic also had spent some time on the small screen, appearing in multiple episodes of the sitcoms Martin and Malcolm & Eddie. His other TV credits include The Bold and the Beautiful, South Central, The Parent ‘Hood, Moesha, and The Jamie Foxx Show. He also performed stand-up comedy on Def Comedy Jam.
The comedian is also known for appearing in rap videos. Memorably, he played an Eazy-E parody rapper called Sleazy-E in the video for Dr. Dre’s “Dre Day” in 1992. The Sleazy-E character returned in the real Eazy-E’s video for “Real Muthaphuckkin G’s” in 1993.
Anthony “AJ” Johnson’s survivors include his wife, Lexis, along with three children and two siblings. We would like to extend our condolences to them at this time along with the rest of Johnson’s family and friends. We thank him for his contributions; may he rest in peace. This news comes to us from TMZ with additional details from CNN.