April 12, 2024

Chris Tucker Reflects on ‘Friday’ Castmates Who Died

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Chris Tucker GQ

Screengrab: GQ

Air star Chris Tucker took some time to look back on his breakout film Friday with GQ.

To accompany his recent GQ profile, Tucker, 51, described his portrayal of Smokey as his debut “co-starring role,” and also an introduction to him being able to carry a feature film.

“Working with Gary Gray was great,” he said, acknowledging the film’s director. “And the cast, with everybody… Tiny Zeus Lister, I don’t know if I mentioned him when he passed away. One of my good friends, the legendary Tiny Zeus Lister, who played Deebo. Casting him as like, the big villain coming like the shark from Jaws.”

Lister died at 62-years-old in December 2020 from hypertension and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, becoming the fifth main cast member from Friday to have passed away. In 2021, Anthony Johnson (55), who played Ezal in the film, died from multi-organ system failure.

“The legendary iconic John Witherspoon,” Tucker continued, “and Bernie Mac. Those guys, comedy legends and gods, man. You had Reynaldo Rey, and Yvette Wilson. So many legends that was in this movie that passed away. I’m so, so honored to have worked with them.”

Witherspoon, Mac, Rey, and Wilson passed away in 2019, 2008, 2015, and 2012, respectively. 

To date, Tucker has only starred in the first installment of the Friday franchise, which was followed by 2000’s Next Friday, 2002’s Friday After Next and 2007’s Friday: The Animated Series. The actor-comedian has shown interest in returning to film a fourth installment, telling Audacy’s V-103 that it would have to be “great.”

Tucker stars in the recently released semi-autobiographical film Air as now-Nike VP Howard White.

Watch the full interview below.



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