Anthony 'A.J.' Johnson, Friday and House Party actor and comedian, dies at 55
Anthony Johnson, an actor and comedian best known for his work in the movies Friday and House Party, has died at the age of 55. His representative LyNea Bell confirmed the news Monday.
"The world of comedy has truly been shaken, again. Our BH Talent family is heartbroken about the loss of the iconic legend of stage and screen Mr. Anthony 'A.J.' Johnson," Bell said in a statement to EW. "He has left with us amazing memories of his laughter, dynamic acting skills, but most of all his enormous personality and heart of gold. We will be in constant 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 give them the time they need to process and grieve such a huge loss."
A cause of death wasn't disclosed at this time.
Johnson, who was born in Compton, Calif., began his career performing stand-up comedy in the '90s. He continued to practice stand-up even as his acting credits became more prominent. Sometimes credited as "A.J. Johnson," his breakthrough role came in the form of the character E.Z.E. in the 1990 Kid n' Play comedy House Party, and he went on to appear on several other '90s television shows including The Parent 'Hood, Malcolm & Eddie, Martin, and The Jamie Foxx Show.
On the big screen, Johnson's credits included '90s films like Menace II Society, Lethal Weapon 3, and I Got the Hook-Up. In his most notable role, he captured hearts as the hilarious and scene-stealing Ezal alongside Chris Tucker and Ice Cube in the 1995 film Friday. In the past decade, he appeared in recent films such as 2019's I Got The Hook Up 2 and 2015's Office Staff.
Following news of his passing, Ice Cube posted a tribute to his costar on Twitter. "Sad to wake up to the news about A.J. Johnson passing away. Naturally funny dude who was straight outta Compton at the same time. Sorry I couldn't bring your character Ezal back to the big screen in Last Friday," he wrote.