Thomas Mikal “Tommy” Ford was a long-time character actor, best known for playing Tommy on the ’90s sitcom Martin with Martin Lawrence. The actor is now on life support, two weeks after knee replacement surgery. Ford’s wife, Gina Marie Sasso, told TMZ that he was hospitalized on October 9 after an “aneurysm ruptured in his abdomen.” TMZ later confirmed that he died.
The 52-year-old Ford had an estimated net worth of $2 million, Celebrity Net Worth estimates. Here’s a look at how he earned his money.
1. Ford Starred in Over 80 Films & TV Shows in His Career
Ford had been working in Hollywood for three decades and has been working steadily since 1985. He made his acting debut in a short film called Deathly Realities and played a police officer in a 19887 episode of Kate & Allie.
One of the highlights of his early career includes a role in Harlem Nights, the 1989 film starring Edide Murphy and Richard Pryor.
After several small roles on television and in movies, Ford finally got his big break in 1992 when he was cast on Martin. His role as Tommy even earned him an Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series nomination at the 1996 NAACP Image Awards.
Following Martin, Ford starred in the short-lived crime drama New York Undercover and found another recurring role in The Parkers.
In recent years, Ford has focused on TV or direct-to-video movies. He made four of them in 2016 – Beat Street Resurrection, Blues for Life, Addiction by Subtraction and Love Different. According to his IMDb page, he has three mre movies completed and three others in the works.
2. Ford Had a Line of Tommy Ties, Which Sell for $75 Each
Ford was the face of Tommy Ties by Verse 9 and each tie in the collection sells for $75. The Tommy bow-ties are priced at $84.99 each. The ties are also reversible, so you get two in one.
Ford hosted an annual Tommy-Tie Town Hall, where he hoped to bring community leaders and young men together. He believed that young men should be taught how to “groom for greatness” and that includes wearing ties. Ford encouraged anyone who attends the event to find a young man without a tie, give him one and teach him how to tie it.
3. Ford Teamed up With Viviane Brazil Collections to Raise Awareness for Breast Cancer
The “Tommy by Viviane Brazil Men’s Collection” is billed as a collection “for men who represent protection, prosperity, passion!”
4. Ford Wrote Inspirational Children’s Books, Which Are Available for $25
Aside from acting, Ford worked hard at inspiring others, especially children. On his website, Ford sells a pack of two children’s books he has written, I Am Responsible For Me! and Stop The Violence!, for $25. Both books aim to inspire troubled youths to make better choices and live better lives.
“My prayer is that my books offer parents, educators, administrators and guardians the necessary tools to assist children with their battles against negative influences,” Ford wrote on his website. “May the words of this book encourage you! The images of this book comfort you, and the spirit of which it is written empower you!”
Ford also wrote a series of books called I Am Beautiful. “This series is a powerful educational tool! It offers children simple, tangible, and positive solutions to resolve conflict as it guides them towards living drug-free and violence-free lifestyles,” he wrote on his site.
5. Ford Also Gave Motivational Speeches & Produced a Documentary on Bullying in African-American Communities
Ford also kept a busy schedule as a motivational speaker, bringing his message of non-violence and empowerment to youths around the U.S. He also had a form on his website, which could be used to make a booking request.
“I have done more than 200 episodes of television, more than two dozen films, and close to 100 theatrical performances!” Ford says on his site. “While I have the platform it is my opportunity to let our children, youth and adults know that they’re beautiful, they’re powerful, they’re valuable and they’re worth-while!”
Ford also recently produced the documentary Through My Lens: Art is Life, which aired on Aspire TV. The film focuses on bullying in the African-American community. You can see a trailer for the film below.