Thomas Mikal Ford, Known for His Role in 90s Sitcom Martin, Dies at 52
By CHRISTOPHER MELE OCT. 12, 2016 (NYT)
Thomas Mikal Ford, who played the pragmatic yet charming character Tommy on the 1990s sitcom Martin, died on Wednesday. He was 52.
His family confirmed his death in a statement released by the J Pervis Talent Agency but did not give a cause. News accounts said that Mr. Ford had had an abdominal aneurysm and died in a hospital in Atlanta. He had knee replacement surgery last week, according to his Instagram account.
Mr. Ford, whose first and middle names were Tommy Mykal but who used a slightly different stage name, appeared in more than 75 movies and television series in a career that began in the mid-1980s.
He was probably best remembered for his role as Tommy Strawn from 1992 to 1997 on Martin, which starred the comedian Martin Lawrence as an often ornery Detroit disc jockey who later became the host of a public-access television talk show. Mr. Ford's Tommy was often Mr. Lawrence's straight man and the subject of his jokes.
A running gag on the show was the disconnect between Tommy's lofty aspirations and his fuzzy employment status, which often played out with other characters reminding him that he had no job.
His performance earned him a nomination for outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series at the 1996 N.A.A.C.P. Image Awards.
He was born on Sept. 5, 1964, in Los Angeles. Information on survivors was not immediately available.
Mr. Ford's films included the 1989 crime comedy Harlem Nights, which starred Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor and Redd Foxx. His other films included Against the Law (1997), Baby Mama's Club (2010) and Love Different (2016).
On television he played a police lieutenant on the detective drama New York Undercover in 1998 and 1999 and Mel Parker, a fun-loving father, in seven episodes of the sitcom The Parkers from 1999 to 2001.
Mr. Ford was a regular on four seasons of Who's Got Jokes?, a comedy competition in which he was billed as the Pope of Comedy, on the TV One cable channel.
Mr. Ford had turned his attention to directing and producing both dramas and comedies for television, according to his website. He was most recently filming Reverse the Lynch Curse, a documentary about curses of distrust and envy.
His website noted that, pursuing a longtime dream, he had also begun writing a series of children's books intended to promote healthy, spiritual and nonviolent living.
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