His death was confirmed to Deadline by his rep LyNea Bell, owner and president of BH Talent.
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“The world of comedy has truly been shaken, again,” said Bell in a statement. “Our BH Talent family is heartbroken about the loss of the iconic legend of stage and screen Mr. Anthony ‘AJ’ Johnson. He has left with us amazing memories of his laughter, dynamic acting skills, but most of all his enormous personality and heart of gold. We will be in constant prayer for his entire family including his wife Lexis, 3 children, brother Edward “Peanut” Smith, sister Sheila, and lifetime manager and friend Mike D. Please give them the time they need to process and grieve such a huge loss.”
A cause of death has not been released.
Johnson, who often went by the professional name A.J. Johnson, appeared in several small TV roles prior to his breakthrough as the character E.Z.E. in the 1990 Kid ‘n Play comedy House Party (the actor was credited in House Party as Anthony Johnson; the film also featured actress A.J. Johnson). In his most notable movie role, Johnson played the crack-addicted thief Ezal in the 1995 Chris Tucker-Ice Cube comedy Friday.
Born in Compton, California, Johnson began performing stand-up comedy in the 1990s, continuing to do so as his acting credits steadily increased. His other films include Menace II Society (1993), B*A*P*S* (1997), and I Got The Hook-Up (1998), while TV credits include The Parent ‘Hood (1995), Malcolm & Eddie (1997) and The Jamie Foxx Show (1997). More recent credits include the film I Got The Hook Up 2 (2019) and 2015’s Office Staff.
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