Thomas “Tommy” Ford, the actor who played Martin Lawrence’s best friend Tommy Strawn on the hit ’90s sitcom Martin, died Wednesday in Atlanta. He was 52.
The actor played the level-headed pal of Lawrence on Martin for the show’s entire five-year run. One running joke was his not having a job, prompting the catchphrase: “You don’t got no job, Tommy!”
“It is with great sadness that we announce the untimely passing of our beloved son, father, brother, husband and friend Tommy Mykal Ford,” the family said in a statement posted on his social media accounts. “On behalf of the family, we would like to thank everyone for their love, support and prayers.”
Family spokeswoman Joy Pervis confirmed Ford’s death but gave no cause.
TMZ and the photo agency Getty Images reported that Ford’s family announced over the weekend that he was on life support after an aneurysm burst in his abdomen.
Ford had other TV parts, notably as Lieutenant Malcolm Barker on Fox’s New York Undercover and Mel Parker on UPN’s The Parkers, as well as playing the Pope of Comedy on TV One’s Who’s Got Jokes with Bill Bellamy.
Several celebrities paid homage to Ford through social media, including Cedric the Entertainer, Rickey Smiley, LL Cool J and Larry Wilmore. Earlier Wednesday, his friend, actor Anthony Anderson, tweeted that Ford had died; that was followed by another tweet declaring that he wasn’t dead but on life support.
Before Martin, Ford landed a spot in the 1989 Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor film Harlem Nights. He would co-produce, co-write or star in such films as Baby Mama’s Club, Against the Law, Beat Street Resurrection and Love Different.
Ford was also a motivational speaker and a children’s’ book author. He appeared in the fourth season of Who’s Got Jokes?
The actor’s website said he had been focusing on building a career behind the camera. He had directed and produced several webisodes, and had been filming Reverse the Lynch Curse, a documentary about breaking curses of distrust and envy. Ford was also involved in several theater productions.
The family said funeral arrangements will be forthcoming.