Actor Thomas Lister Jr., better known to fans as Tiny Lister, has passed away at 62, after possibly contracting COVID-19. Lister was known for his work in a wide variety of film and television projects, especially the Friday film series and The Dark Knight. The actor was found dead in his home on Thursday after experiencing some common symptoms of the virus.
According to CNN, who spoke with Tiny Lister's manager, Cindy Cowan, he had reported feeling sick only about a week ago, noting that Lister felt very weak and was having trouble breathing. Cowan added:
[His symptoms] got really bad, really quick. It literally went so fast.
Filming on many projects had started again several months ago, with new and very strict protocols in place for the safety of all cast and crew members involved, and Cowan also said that Lister was actually scheduled to begin work on something new last weekend, but was already feeling sick enough by that time to call and cancel at the last minute. She said that this was very unlike Lister, because he "doesn't miss movies" and "took [his job] very seriously." Cowan went on to note that Lister was due to participate in an online panel for a TV festival on Wednesday, but also cancelled that appearance.
The double cancellation in less than a week seemed to have worried everyone around Tiny Lister, as Cowan's assistant tried to visit him and check in the same day he begged off the panel, and brought antibiotics and vitamins along to see if they would help the actor feel better. Some of Lister's family members also began trying to call him that night, but all of the calls went unanswered.
Thursday, a friend went to his house, and when no one answered the door, the sheriff's department was called. When they gained entry into his home, deputies found Lister dead. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department issued a statement, saying his "death appears to be of natural causes," but that it's still under investigation and "will ultimately be determined by the Office of Medical Examiner-Coroner."
Whatever the actual cause of Tiny Lister's death, this is truly sad news. Even if you've watched only a few movies or TV shows in the past 35 years, you've more than likely watched Lister ply his trade. After getting his start on the small screen in a 1984 episode of Webster, he went on to work on over 200 projects.
Along with the popular, aforementioned films, Lister also appeared in the movies The Fifth Element, Posse, Universal Soldier, Jackie Brown, Little Nicky, and voiced a character in Zootopia, along with many other roles. He also worked on shows like Matlock, WWF Superstars, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and Key and Peele.
Lister had a whopping 11 projects in some stage of development at the time of his death.
Our thoughts go out to Tiny Lister's family and friends at this difficult time.