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Tommy “Tiny” Lister was an amazing actor, wrestler, father and person. He’s known for his wrestling career and 200+ acting roles that spanned over 40 years. Tiny was tall and muscular, and despite his intimidating exterior and the tough-guy no-nonsense roles he played, he was a generous, kind, soft-spoken and pensive man that I was so grateful to have known.

I met Tiny while working at PM Entertainment in the 1990’s. He had recently starred in the 1993 American revisionist Western film “Posse,” so my producers were eager to cast him in our movie, “Hologram Man.” As I sat with Tiny in my office in Sun Valley, I was thrilled to see how down-to-earth he was and how much he lit up when speaking about his passion for acting. However, acting wasn’t all we spoke of that day. I was a wrestling fan and couldn’t resist bringing up his extraordinary wrestling career.

Tiny played Zeus in the WWE (now WWF) in the 1990’s and became an instant superstar. He was the villain all wrestling fans loved to hate. We sat in my casting office talking about wrestling for much longer than expected. He was humble, but his passion was obvious and I was excited to cast him in this film. Once filming began, actors and crew members alike raved about what a joy Tiny was to work with on set.

Tiny went on to play his most famous role a few years later in “Friday” as Deebo, a menacing bully. He was so good he reprised the role in the sequel in 2000, cementing his legacy for a new millennium. I have no doubt Tiny made many friends over his 40 years in the business. It was impossible not to like him, even if you only met him once. Tommy “Tiny” Lister was the man we all wanted to work with and I’m so grateful I had the chance. Rest in peace.


Written by Mark Sikes