Tom “Tiny” Lister Jr. aka Deebo from Friday died December 10, 2020, at the age of 62. TMZ first reported his death, saying police were called to Lister’s apartment around 3 p.m. and he was pronounced dead without being taken to a hospital. A cause of death has not yet been revealed.
This article was originally published in 2019. At that time, Lister had been the subject of a death hoax that began to spread on October 30, 2019, following the death of John Witherspoon.
In late October 2019, a Google search of the term “Tom Tiny Lister Dead” returned a bizarre website known as Wikiobits. That website said, with no attribution, “Tom died on Monday, October 28, 2019, and his death was possibly because of a really short and painful illness. He was 61.”
Lister Mourned Co-Star John Witherspoon on Instagram
In the wake of Witherspoon’s death, Lister’s official Instagram account sent out three messages of condolences to the 77-year-old actor’s family. That Instagram account makes no reference to Lister’s “death.” In that Instagram bio, Lister refers to himself as a “Man of God & highly accomplished actor from Compton, CA. 215 films in 35 years. Motivational speaker to the youth.”
Lister Said He Received Death Threats in the 1980s After He Played a Bad Guy Opposite Hulk Hogan
In addition to his role in Friday, Lister is also remembered for his run in World Wrestling Entertainment in the later 1980s which saw him headline Summerslam 1989. Lister, under the moniker Zeus, teamed with the Randy “Macho Man” Savage against Hulk Hogan and Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake. Lister also appeared with Hogan in the WWE-produced movie No Holds Barred. In 2014, Lister told Grantland that as a result of his bad guy role in the film, he received multiple death threats.
Lister Had Been Seen in Public Shortly Before the 2019 Death Hoax
At the time of the death hoax on October 30, 2019, Lister had last been seen in public on October 25, when he was recorded giving a message to Friday star Ice Cube. Lister, accompanied by San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel, told Cube that Samuel should appear in a Friday reboot.
Lister Was in the News in April 2019 When He Was Accused of Smacking His Girlfriend’s Phone Out of Her Hands
Lister was in the news in April 2019 when police responded to his home in Chandler, Arizona, after a 911 call reported a domestic disturbance at the residence. TMZ reported at the time that neither Lister nor his girlfriend faced any criminal charges as a result of the incident.
Lister was accused of smacking his girlfriend’s phone out of her hands. During the incident, TMZ reported, Lister’s girlfriend screamed at the actor, “Don’t f***ing hit me!” After the altercation, Lister and his girlfriend broke up, TMZ reported. Lister was formerly married to a woman named Felicia Forbes. The incident with his girlfriend was not Lister’s first brush with the law. In 2012, documents showed that Lister had become a cooperating witness with the FBI after he pleaded guilty in a multimillion-dollar mortgage fraud scheme.