Anthony "AJ" Johnson, who is best known for his role as Ezal in "Friday," has died at 55. The American actor and comedian was confirmed dead by his agent, who did not give the precise date of death or the cause of his death.
According to the media TMZ, the actor was found unconscious in a store in Los Angeles earlier this month. They took him to hospital, but the actor was pronounced dead. His death leaves many American moviegoers in mourning.
Earlier in July 2017, Anthony Johnson had suffered a heart attack at New York Airport. Hospitalized for several weeks, he was able to return to his home.
A photo of Anthony Johnson | Photo: twitter.com/consequence
ANTHONY JOHNSON'S DEATH
Anthony Johnson was born in 1965 in an underprivileged neighborhood in Compton, Los Angeles. Early on, the star raised by his mother and grandmother became a part of the cinema because his dad was a stuntman.
Not only is his father a stuntman, but he is also the co-founder of a foundation to help black stunt performers work in Hollywood, called the Black Stuntmen's Association.
After a few small roles, the actor played the role of E.Z.E. in the comedy "House Party" in 1990, which became a cult classic in the United States. But his most prominent role is still his appearance in "Lethal Weapon 3" alongside Mel Gibson.
He later distinguished himself in "Menace II Society" and the comedy "Friday," which enjoyed enormous success across the Atlantic. The comedian was a jack of all trades and made numerous appearances in various rap music videos like Dr. Dre's "Dre Day."
He had also appeared in several ultra-popular television series in the United States, such as "Martin" and "The Jamie Foxx Show." In his lifetime, Johnson has appeared in nearly 50 films and television series.
His recent credits include "Office Staff" in 2015 and "I Got The Hook Up 2" in 2019. He also received credits in "Moesha," "The Bold and the Beautiful," and "Malcolm & Eddie." Before his death, he continued to do stand-up all over LA.
In a statement to TMZ, his rep confirmed his death and said prayers were going out for his wife, children, siblings, manager, those touched by his comedy, acting, and life. He further said,
"Our BH Talent family is saddened about the loss of an amazing iconic legend in comedy, our client and friend Anthony "AJ" Johnson."
Johnson's death was reported on Monday, although TMZ reports his nephew says he was "found lifeless in a store" in Los Angeles earlier this month and was rushed to the hospital.
Several tributes have been pouring in from the entertainment world and fans all over social. Most people are reliving their encounters with him throughout his career.
Co-star and creator Ice Cube also paid tribute to his late friend on social media, sharing a photo of Johnson with a caption that read:
"Sad to wake up to the news of the passing of AJ Johnson. Naturally funny guy who was straight out of Compton at the same time. Sorry, I couldn't bring your character Ezal back to the big screen "Last Friday…"
American actor, radio host, political commentator, author, and stand-up comedian Darryl Lynn 'DL' Hughley also took to Twitter to express his shock. He kept his post short as he wrote in reply to TMZ breaking the news, "Damn!!! Rip."
Ice Cube appears in a portrait taken on December 4, 1990 in New York City | Photo: Getty Images
Despite the tributes that have flooded social media, his wife's tribute was one of the most heartbreaking tributes. Johnson was married to Lexis Jones Mason for 28 years, and they have three children together.
In her first video, she mentions his passing and solicits GoFundme donations towards Johnson's homegoing service and ongoing support for his children and grandchildren. She says the family wants to honor him the way he deserves.
She also revealed to TMZ that she would not be asking for help if they had the money to bury her late husband. So far, she said she has received what she has termed fake love as people are sending love but are not helping out.
People have promised to help, but she is yet to receive any of the help promised. She said that if the money to bury him isn't available, she'd just have a service and probably cremate him.
In tears, she has asked that people stop the fake love and text messages. She has said she will go back to work in a couple of days and not worry about this. She knows she and her family will be okay.
In her second video, she takes a look back at the life and moments they have shared for over 28 years. She captioned the video, "Over 28 years gone like that 😪😪♥️♥️ @therealajjohnson RIH Poppie."
Mason, is a licensed mixologist and bartender who provides professional services for specialty drink menus. She has traveled worldwide for work while attending to private parties, weddings, and special occasions.
She has been featured on Bravo TV's "I Dream of Nene-the Wedding" and "Real Housewives of Atlanta." She is always on the go with her hosting and bartending all over the states.
LIFE AFTER "FRIDAY"
Before his death in 2018, he released a video detailing his life leading up to "Friday" and life after that. He revealed that he was the class clown and loved the attention of being bad. This made him get sent to the principal's office a lot.
In the video, he revealed that they were so poor that he played football in tennis shoes. Getting in front of the camera was by chance as he went to work with his father.
He had Jheri curl while the other guys had a high-top fade. They started talking to each other about their hairstyles, and the director asked him to come on set for a scene.
From there, he had his first stage performance as a comedian and was booed. By his second performance, he killed the show and has not stopped hitting the stages trying to further his career. Once he got on the Def Jam stage, his career picked up.
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