Anthony Johnson, who starred in comedies such as Friday, House Party, and Lethal Weapon 3, has died, according to his nephew. The actor, also known as A.J., was found “lifeless” in a Los Angeles store in early September. He was reportedly rushed to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. The exact date of death was not revealed.
The cause of death has not been revealed. So fans are wondering what happened. As of Monday morning, not much was revealed about Anthony Johnson’s death. A.J.’s representatives also confirmed his death to TheWrap on Monday. The actor was only 55 years old.
It’s not clear if foul play was involved in A.J.’s death or if he died of natural causes. Authorities have not released an official statement and a coroner’s report is still pending. The actor’s family has yet to comment further on the nature of his death.
According to his IMDb page, Anthony Johnson was known for his role as Ezal in Friday and was rumored to be reprising his comedic role in the upcoming sequel, Last Friday. The movie was announced and was set to release in 2023, though it’s unclear if A.J. finished filming his role or if the producers will have to cut him out altogether. The actor was also set to appear in the films I Want It All and Caught Up In, which are both listed to be in the pre-production stage.
His IMBd page also claimed that he completed filming the upcoming The Way Men Think TV Movie. The actor was a breakout star in the 90s, having appeared in many films such as Malcolm & Eddie, The Players Club, and I Got the Hook Up. While he started as a comedian, many of his roles were dramatic, including his role as Tony in Menace II Society. He also played an uncredited drug dealer in Lethal Weapon 3.
After landing his first film role as E.Z.E in House Party, Anthony Johnson became a popular stand-up comic in the LA comedy circuit. While he never rose to national fame, he was a prominent comedian and actor in the 90s and early 2000s. His most popular role was Ezal in the 1995 American comedy Friday. He acted alongside rapper Ice Cube and Chris Tucker. That dynamic duo players a pair of unemployed friends while A.J. played a hilarious petty thief.
The film was a commercial success, having grossed $27 million at the box office. The film franchise expanded with two more films, and the fourth and final installment is set to release in 2023.
After news of A.J.’s death broke, fans took to Twitter to pay tribute to the comedic actor. In one tweet, a fan shared one of Anthony Johnson’s most notable scenes from Friday. “I ain’t the smartest man in the world but,” the Twitter user wrote, followed by three laughing-face emojis.
Another fan responded, writing: “I’ve had this scene memorized word for word since I was a teen.” Other fans pointed out that A.J.’s death marks the latest in a string of Friday actors’ deaths. Tom Lister Jr., who played Deebo, died in December 2020, while John Witherspoon, who played Mr. Jones, died on October 30, 2019.
One Friday fan joked on Twitter, writing: “protect ice cube at all costs man.”
A few fans also mentioned Anthony Johnson’s other memorable moment from Friday. Ezal, in a fit of pain, writhes on the floor, screaming, “Oh, my neck, my back, my neck, and my back.” The scene is one of the best in the whole film.
“Aww this makes me sad,” one fan wrote on Twitter. “If you’ve seen Friday, at some point you’ve probably used the “My neck, my back, my neck and my back “line. My kids and I sure have! May he Rest In Peace!”
Another fan wrote: “Damn RIP… he had one of the most memorable scenes [in] Friday.” The fan added a gif of Anthony Johnson’s painful but hilarious moment.