Tommy Ford (Thomas Mikal Ford)

Tommy Ford

Tommy Ford was born in Yonkers, New York, and raised in Long Beach, California. His parents worked as a school secretary and a pipe-fitter. As a child, Ford wanted to be a preacher. When he took drama lessons and started acting in high school plays, he decided to go into acting instead. After earning Associate of Arts degree from Long Beach City College in 1985, Ford transferred to the University of Southern California, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in acting. In Martin, Tommy Ford played Tommy Strawn who was, at times, the straight man for Martin Lawrence’s jokes, but he very often inserted scene-stealing “bald-headed logic” and witty comments in odd situations. Also, his character was often the subject of many jokes regarding his mysterious employment status though Tisha Campbell-Martin revealed he was a counselor and presumably unemployed after Ford complained that his character lacked development. Ford received an NAACP Image Awards nomination in 1996 in the category of Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. After Martin ended, Ford found success in the detective drama New York Undercover. Ford played the role of Lieutenant Malcolm Barker. Ford appeared on the UPN sitcom The Parkers in the recurring role of Nikki’s ex-husband and Kim’s father, Mel Parker, in seven episodes. He played Ben Cummings in The Power of Passion as one of the characters whose wife cheats on him with the pastor. He was also known as “The Pope of Comedy”, due to exposure as a judge on TV One’s comedy competition show Bill Bellamy’s Who’s Got Jokes?

In film, Tommy Ford appeared in the Kid ‘n Play movie Class Act as Mink. In Harlem Nights, he played Tommy Smalls, the brother of Arsenio Hall’s character. He can also be seen in the 1997 crime drama Against the Law. In 1993, Ford directed and produced the play South of Where We Live, which was about six African-American professionals who return to the communities where they were raised and learn about the social issues that now exist. The play was performed at the Los Angeles Ebony Showcase Theatre, the oldest black theater in the country. Ford chose the Ebony Showcase in order to raise money for the theater, which was in danger of closing. The same year, he directed the play Jonin’, a comedy about fraternity life at a historically black college in Washington, D.C. Ford co-hosted the Texas Gospel Music Awards in 1993 with singer Yolanda Adams and actor Troy Curvey. In 1998, Ford founded a 501 nonprofit organization called Be Still and Know. The organization’s mission was to build better communities for youth. Ford wrote two inspirational books for children, titled “Positive Attitude” and “I am Responsible for Me”. Ford spent time traveling to schools to inspire and empower children and encourage responsibility. Tommy Ford died on October 12, 2016, at an Atlanta area hospital after an aneurysm in his abdomen ruptured. He was 54.

Born

  • June, 15, 1962
  • Yonkers, New York

Died

  • October, 12, 2016
  • Atlanta, Georgia

Cause of Death

  • aneurysm

Cemetery

  • Ascension Cemetery
  • Lake Forest, California

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