Tom Lister Jr. Poster


Jump to: Overview (5)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (2)  | Trade Mark (5)  | Trivia (13)  | Personal Quotes (7)

Overview (5)

Born in Compton, California, USA
Died in Marina Del Rey, California, USA  (heart disease)
Birth NameThomas Duane Lister Jr.
Nicknames Zeus
The Human Wrecking Machine
Height 6' 5" (1.96 m)

Mini Bio (1)

If you ever wanted a 6' 5", musclebound, broad-shouldered, shaved-head actor to play a terrifying bodyguard, a soldier of fortune or a fearsome gangster, then Tommy "Tiny" Lister Jr. was your man. The basketball player turned actor, who notched up appearances in roughly 132 films, first popped up in roles such as a prison guard in Runaway Train (1985), Andy Garcia's bodyguard in 8 Million Ways to Die (1986) and Powers Boothe's bodyguard in Extreme Prejudice (1987). Hardly diminutive, 6' 5" Lister was not just a recognizable figure on screen, but also a highly accomplished actor. Originally a professional wrestler known by the names "Zeus" and "ZGangsta" for the WWE (Formerly WWF), Tiny left wrestling in the mid 1980s to pursue an acting career. He worked with some of the best actors and directors, in a wide net of genres - from thriller to science fiction and drama to comedy.

Tommy "Tiny" Lister grew up in Compton, California, but chose to break the curses of his generation at an early age. He stayed away from gang life, choosing instead to stay at home and watch westerns. He chose religion over wrongdoing, and developed an interest in films and television early. Growing up watching Gary Cooper, Jimmy Stewart, Charlton Heston and Errol Flynn allowed Tiny a chance to dream, and he envisioned his own life on film and television, creating characters on celluloid that transcended gender and color. With his will set in stone, Tiny went out to make it possible. Tiny made his feature film debut in Runaway Train (1985) with Jon Voight, and spent the next few years learning the craft and appearing in films heavy in action and in talent: 8 Million Ways to Die (1986) with Andy Garcia, Beverly Hills Cop II (1987) with Eddie Murphy, and No Holds Barred (1989) with fellow WWE (WWF at the time) wrestler Hulk Hogan.

In the 1990s, Tiny expanded his resume, continuing to make his mark in films with the best in the business. He joined Johnny Depp and the legendary Marlon Brando in the quirky Don Juan DeMarco (1994) and worked with director Quentin Tarantino and actor Andy Garcia in Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead (1995). He would later work again with Tarantino in Jackie Brown (1997). Lister's 1990s career benefited from the decade's surge in African-American filmmaking, beginning with his starring role in Mario Van Peebles's western Posse (1993), in which he was thrilled to star with his childhood idol Woody Strode. In a move that was sure to cement his popularity with young audiences across the country, Tiny went on to star as neighborhood bully "Deebo" opposite Ice Cube in the cult comedy Friday (1995), reprising the role for the successful sequel Next Friday (2000). After appearing in comedian Martin Lawrence's A Thin Line Between Love and Hate (1996), Lister played a supporting role in Ice Cube's directorial debut The Players Club (1998) and appeared in Master P's I Got the Hook Up (1998). He also starred in a slew of B-horror films including Soulkeeper (2001), Hellborn (2003) and Dracula 3000 (2004).

Tiny continued with his wide, often eclectic range of roles, and expanded on his original "fierce bodyguard" roles to include comedic and rather quirky performances. He played the President in director Luc Besson's science fiction epic The Fifth Element (1997) opposite Bruce Willis and worked with Adam Sandler in Little Nicky (2000), as well as Mike Meyers and Mike Myers in Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002). He joined Dustin Hoffman, Andy Garcia and Rachel Weisz in the crime thriller Confidence (2003). Tiny worked with some of the greatest directors (Quentin Tarantino, Luc Besson, John Frankenheimer), many of our most noted actors (Marlon Brando, Samuel L. Jackson, Johnny Depp, Peter O'Toole) and a good share of the top talent in wrestling and rap (Hulk Hogan, 50 Cent and Tupac Shakur, respectively). His wrestling exploits can be seen on Summerslam (1989), Survivor Series (1989) and WWF Superstars (1986).

However, it was Tiny's devotion to ministry and public speaking that made the biggest impression. Along with his wife Felicia, Tiny ministered across the country, reaching out to troubled youth, and sharing his powerful testimony and inspiration in churches and schools.

Tommy "Tiny" Lister may not have been an A list star, but he was certainly one of Hollywood's most instantly recognizable and busiest character actors, until his death on December 10, 2020, in Marina del Rey, California. He was 62.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: firehouse44 and Shearer Public Relations

Family (2)

Spouse Felicia Forbes (26 January 2003 - 10 December 2020)  (his death)  (1 child)
Children Lister III, Thomas Duane

Trade Mark (5)

Deep resonant voice
Shaved head
Often played brutes and thugs
Powerfully built
Towering height

Trivia (13)

Career got started by actor/director Jimmy Bridges (older brother of actor Todd Bridges) when Jimmy introduced Tiny to his father, Jim Bridges, who was a talent agent in Hollywood after which Tiny worked in three movies his first year in the business.
He also had a brief stint in WCW World Championship Wrestling. He was known as Z-Gangsta.
Weighed 300 lbs at the time of Universal Soldier (1992).
During his brief stint in the World Wrestling Federation in 1989, Lister was promoted as frustrated with being billed below Hulk Hogan in that year's No Holds Barred (1989), and thus wanting to get his revenge in a real-life wrestling confrontation (in the movie, Hogan's character defeats Zeus at the end). The "feud" parlayed into a series of tag-team matches, pitting Lister -- who wrestled as his movie character Zeus -- and his partners (usually Randy Savage [aka "Macho Man"] and Ted DiBiase [aka "Million Dollar Man"]) vs. Hogan and Ed Leslie (aka "Brutus Beefcake"); when not wrestling, he sometimes came down as a menacing second for either DiBiase or Savage in their matches against Hogan or Beefcake, interfering at every opportunity. During his WWF matches, Zeus "no sold" his opponents' wrestling moves (that is, pretended like an opponent's moves didn't hurt the wrestler in the least) to generate fan heat and create the impression Zeus was invincible. His in-ring finisher was the neck-wrencher, which he ostensibly used to "break" opponents' necks and set them up for an easy pin fall loss. Lister's wrestling career only lasted for about six months.
Had played Klaang in the first episode of Star Trek: Enterprise (2001). Klaang was the first Klingon (even though this was in a prequel) that Starfleet ever encountered.
Had appeared in two films starring Sir Michael Caine as a primary supporting character: Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002) and The Dark Knight (2008).
A movie buff, he enjoyed the films of Frank Capra and Burt Lancaster, and had even been a guest host on TCM's "The Essentials".
Attended Palomar Junior College before transferring to Long Beach City College for his sophomore year. Was the 1982 NCAA Division II Shot Put Champion while attending California State University, Los Angeles.
He has commonly been listed as 6' 7", even though he is 6' 5".
He was blind in his right eye which droops, and the look in movies is a product created by film crews.
Listed #500 in Pro Wrestling Illustrated's Top 500 wrestlers in the world (1991).
Had one son, Thomas Duane Lister III.
Was friends with Morris Chestnut.

Personal Quotes (7)

I love the shot put because you win or lose by yourself. Either I get exposed, or I dominate. I always dominated because I trained to dominate.
Vince McMahon was a great negotiator.
I'm a big comic book person. I love Captain America. I like John Henry. I'm hoping to play one of the superhero characters that's coming from Marvel.
Chris Nolan is an amazing director.
What's so cool about God and our government is that you can make a mistake, and they will forgive you if you just a good person and doing right.
A lot of times, you try and please your biological family, and you can't please them.
I'm in 'Madagascar 2.' I'm Testy the Lion. The franchise moves to Africa, and Bernie Mac is also in the film. I loved working for Dreamworks on that film.

See also

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