Anthony Johnson, ‘Friday’ Star, Dies at 55

One of the more memorable comic performers of the 1990s has died. Anthony Johnson, best known as Ezal from the ’90s comedy classic Friday passed away. As of this writing, no cause of death has been revealed. Johnson was only 55 years old.

According to Johnson’s nephew (via TMZ), Johnson “was found lifeless in a store earlier this month in Los Angeles and rushed to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.”

Johnson began working as an actor in the 1980s, and had his first breakthrough in 1990, appearing in the original House Party as E.Z.E. More roles followed, including work in films like Lethal Weapon 3, Menace II Society, Panther, B*A*P*S, House Party 3, and The Great White Hype, and TV series like Martin, Moesha, South Central, Malcolm & Eddie, The Jamie Foxx Show, and Def Comedy Jam. He also became a fixture in standup comedy circles. All in all, he appeared in almost 50 movies and television shows.

His signature performance, though remained his work in 1995’s Friday, the landmark comedy starring Ice Cube and Chris Tucker. Johnson played Ezal, an eccentric character from Craig and Smokey’s neighborhood. Here’s a collection of his scenes from the film:

According to TMZ, Johnson was rumored to be a part of the upcoming Last Friday, the long-awaited fourth sequel to the franchise. (The series has been dormant since 2002’s Friday After Next.) If that’s true, this news is doubly sad. The film won’t be the same without him.

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