Following several erroneous reports regarding the death of actor Tommy Ford, it has now been confirmed by his publicist that the star has died at the age of 52.
Early Wednesday morning, as mentioned by the Inquisitr, fellow comedic actor and close friend Anthony Anderson accidentally posted news of Ford’s passing via his Twitter profile. After being corrected by an influx of intense messages — some coming from other actors, including Terri J. Vaughn of The Steve Harvey Show and Meet The Browns, the black-ish player deleted the tweet and asked fans of his to continue praying for Ford, who was said to be comatose following an aneurysm eruption in his abdomen.
As reported by Love B. Scott and Us Weekly, just hours later, Tommy’s publicist, Jay Mathis, revealed through his Twitter page that Ford had, indeed, died from complications of the malady late Wednesday afternoon.
Ford’s family followed suit with their own confirmation through his Instagram profile shortly thereafter.
Born Thomas Mikal Ford in June 1962, the Yonkers-bred actor first started his television career in 1987 with bit parts on popular sitcoms Kate and Alley, A Different World, and Booker. Transitioning to film roles soon after his breakthrough, his first big-screen appearance was in the Eddie Murphy comedy, Harlem Nights, back in 1989, where he played similarly-named henchman, Tommy Smalls.
Arguably, Ford’s biggest role would see him once again portraying a character with the same name as his. From 1992 to 1997, Tommy, then going by his full name, played Thomas “Tommy” Strawn, the best friend of lead star Martin Lawrence’s televised counterpart on the mononymous Martin.
Speaking to Rolling Out about a then-upcoming theater project, Ford expressed how audiences of the show still had love for the show nearly two decades after it ended its run.
“People always come up to me and say, ‘Hey, man, I know somebody just like y’all [were],'” he said. “I think folks [identified] with every one of these characters [because] we know a Cole [or] we know a Tommy — [people who are] just loud and crazy and they pretend to be hard but they have great, big, loving hearts.”
Following Martin, Ford simultaneously took on roles in both another FOX production, the law enforcement themed New York Undercover, and the popular UPN comedy, The Parkers, as Mel Parker, the father of lead character Kimberly Parker (Hollywood Divas‘ Countess Vaughn). Initially brought on to New York Undercover to help the floundering ratings of the once white-hot dramatized procedural, he stayed with the show until its cancellation after four seasons in 1999. His last appearance on The Parkers would occur two years later, in 2001.
He would then go on to take a break from the spotlight for a short while, only loaning his voice to the Disney program, The Proud Family, twice, in 2002 and 2004. In 2006, he would reemerge as the “Pope of Comedy,” a moniker he acquired through his hilarious knocks at African-American culture, on TV One’s stand-up competition, Who’s Got Jokes, created by Bill Bellamy.
When it came to films in his latter career, however, Ford chose to take a more understated route by appearing in independent films, such as Every Family Has Problems and Conflict of Interest, in 2015. As of now, there are two other productions that Ford took part in — He Watches Over Me and The Last Time — that are in post-production. Additionally, there are three other movies that he completed before his passing, so says IMDB, and one, Pantheress, that he was said to be filming before his death.
Ford is survived by his wife, Gina, who, incidentally, has the same name as one of the main characters from Martin. He had no children during his lifetime.
[Featured Image by Tommy Ford/Instagram]