Anthony “AJ” Johnson, best known for his role as Ezal in the blockbuster “Friday” comedy franchise, died at the age of 55.
Lynea Bell, Johnson’s publicist, confirmed the comedian’s death, albeit the cause of death was not revealed.
“We’ve lost a legend. Bell told the Hollywood Reporter, “He will be deeply missed.” “He has left us with incredible memories of his laughter, dynamic acting skills, and, most importantly, his tremendous personality and golden heart.”
Johnson appeared in a number of successful feature films, including Mel Gibson and Danny Glover’s “House Party,” “Menace II Society,” “Lethal Weapon 3,” “The Players Club,” “I Got The Hook-Up,” and “B.A.P.S.” with Halle Berry. Guest appearances on “Martin” with Martin Lawrence and “Malcolm & Eddie,” to mention a few of his comic contributions, are among his television credentials.
The stand-up comedian from Compton, California, got a break when he was cast as E.Z.E. in the 1990 film “House Party,” starring Kid n’ Play rappers Christopher Reid and Christopher Martin, and DJ Mark “Wiz” Eastmond. Johnson reprised his role in the third installment of “House Party.”
His most noteworthy role was as petty crook Ezal in the 1995 film “Friday,” which launched the high-living franchise starring rapper Ice Cube, who also co-wrote the film and comedian Chris Tucker.
According to his official IMDB page, he was rumored to be set to reprise his signature role of Ezal in an upcoming sequel, “Last Friday,” at the time of his death.
Meanwhile, Johnson’s followers are lamenting his sudden death on social media.
“Rest in peace, Anthony Johnson.” Folded hands….some of the most quotable lines in the original Friday were his,” commented the popular Twitter account Wu-Tang Is For The Children, which has received over 2,000 likes for tweeting an iconic clip from “Friday” in which the character Ezal demonstrates his convenience store slip trick.
Fans continued to praise Johnson’s quotability, with one commenting, “more in one movie than a lot of people’s lives.”
Many friends and family members survive Johnson, according to Bell, and “we will be in continual 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. Allow them the time they require to absorb and mourn such a significant loss.”