Tommy “Tiny” Debo Lister (June 24, 1958 – December 10, 2020) was an American character actor and occasional professional wrestler best known for his roles as the neighbourhood bully Deebo in the 1995 film Friday and its 2000 sequel, as well as President Lindberg in The Fifth Element.
After appearing as Zeus in the 1989 film No Holds Barred, he had two brief professional wrestling runs, first with Hulk Hogan in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and then as Z-Gangsta in 1996 for World Championship Wrestling (WCW).
He was blind in his right eye, which drooped, and the movie look is a product of film crews. He appeared in both comedies and dramas, typically as ‘the heavy/big bully.’ He was also a standout track and field athlete in college.
Tiny Lister: Early Life
Lister was born in Compton, California on June 24, 1958, to Thomas Duane Lister and Mildred (Edwards) Lister. He had a deformed and detached retina in his right eye since birth, resulting in permanent blindness.
Lister began his college career at Palomar Junior College before transferring to Long Beach City College for his sophomore year. He recorded a 52-foot (16-meter) shot put throw while at Long Beach, which helped him earn a scholarship to California State University, Los Angeles.
During his senior year, he won the national shot put title with a throw of more than 61 feet 8 inches (18.8 m). Lister won the NCAA Division II National Shot Put Championship in 1982.
After college, Lister competed for the Converse Track Club, eventually raising his shot put mark to 64 ft 3 in (19.58 m), before trying out for the US Football League’s New Orleans Breakers. He was released after two exhibition games and decided to pursue a career in acting instead.
Tiny Lister: Career
Tommy “Tiny” Lister (born Thomas Lister, Jr. on June 24, 1958) is a character actor and former wrestler best known for his portrayal of the neighbourhood bully Deebo in the Friday film series. He also had a brief professional wrestling career, wrestling Hulk Hogan in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) after appearing in Hogan’s film No Holds Barred as “Zeus.”
Lister has a blind spot in his right eye. Lister has appeared in many TV shows, including the pilot episode of Star Trek: Enterprise, in which he played Klaang (the first Klingon to make contact with humans, excluding Worf in Star Trek: First Contact).
He also appeared as Mr Matlock’s in-prison bodyguard in an episode of the courtroom drama Matlock. Lister also played Sancho in Sublime’s music video for “Santeria.” He also appeared in Michael Jackson’s “Remember the Time” music video. He also appeared as a prisoner in the Hard Knock Life spoof in Austin Powers in Goldmember.
Tiny Lister: Honours And Awards
With a throw of over 61 ft 8 in (18.8 m), he won the US national shot put title. He was also the 1982 NCAA Division II National Shot Put Champion.
An annual track meets in Lister’s honour is hosted by the athletic department of his alma mater, Cal State LA.
He was nominated for “Best Bad Mu#& an Award” at the All Def Movie Awards in 2016. He won “Best Star Spotlight” in 2014 at the Orlando Urban Film Festival for his performance in No Weapon Formed Against Us.
Tiny Lister: Problems with Health and Death
Lister had type 2 diabetes by the age of 55.
Lister was diagnosed with COVID-19 in August 2020 and recovered. In early December, he became ill with symptoms similar to COVID-19 for the second time, exhibiting weakness and difficulty breathing, forcing him to cancel filming for a film. His manager, Cindy McGowen, became concerned when he missed filmings and sent her assistant to his house to give him vitamins and antibiotics.
On December 10, police officers called to check on Lister discovered him dead in his Marina del Rey, California, home; he was 62 years old. The coroner’s office investigated his death, which was initially suspected to be caused by COVID-19 complications. The cause of death, according to the final autopsy report, was hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.
Tiny Lister: Net Worth
Tommy Lister was an American character actor and former wrestler who died in 2020 with a net worth of $100,000. He was also known as Tommy “Tiny” Lister and appeared in films such as “The Fifth Element” and “Friday.”
Because of his 6’5 height and large stature, the nickname “Tiny” was an ironic joke. Tommy died on December 10, 2020, at the age of 62.