Updated 5:58 p.m.
Actor Thomas Mikal Ford, widely known for his role on “Martin” during the 90s died Wednesday, according to a social media post from his publicist. He was 52 and had been earlier hospitalized, his agent confirmed to EBONY.com’s sister website, JETMag.com.
— Jay Mathis PR (@RJMConsults) October 12, 2016
Celebrity website TMZ.com said Ford died in an in an Atlanta hospital after suffering a reported abdominal aneurysm.
Ford, 52, starred alongside Martin Lawrence, Tisha Campbell-Martin, Tichina Arnold and Carl Anthony Payne II, on the hit FOX sitcom, which ran from 1992-1997. He was also known for his roles in Eddie Murphy’s “Harlem Nights” and his recurring role on “The Parkers” with comedian Monique and hosting the show “Who’s Got Jokes” as the Pope of Comedy along with Bill Bellamy.
He has reportedly undergone knee surgery recently and has been receiving treatment by doctors since then. He confirmed this himself through an Instagram post a few days ago. Social media posts had circulated regarding the status of his health, but his representative only confirmed that he had been hospitalized. His TV co-star Martin Lawrence had tweeted out a message of support to Ford and his family.
Prayers up for my brother @BigTommyFord and his family. pic.twitter.com/yuh0nJvO1f
— Martin Lawrence (@realmartymar) October 12, 2016
According to his website, Ford graduated from the Fine Arts Acting program at the University of Southern California and landed his first role on NBC’s “A Different World.” He moved on to feature films including his turn in “Harlem Nights,” before joining the cast of “Martin.” After his stint on the show, he also starred in the final season of the cop drama “New York Undercover.”
According to a biography on iMDB.com, he has also been involved in directing several webisodes and producing theater. He also has been slated to appear in several projects this year including one he directed called “Beat Street Resurrection.”
Last year, Ford spoke with JETMag.com about growing up without his biological father in his life and reconciling what that meant for him.
Growing up, the few times I had contact with [my father], I did not recognize the man I heard so many people describe. He was the kindest, gentlest, warmest individual I’d ever seen in my life. He would sing to me — and there was a piece of calm there. So it was confusing as well because I heard mama and other folks say how horrible he was. I just did not see evidence of it.
Instead, I saw the results of [my father’s] politeness and I wanted to duplicate that. [For example], my father was so polite that the old ladies would say to him, “God bless you, baby.” And, to this day, when I see an old lady, I say, “God bless you, mother.” I wanted to tell people, “See, he is not a monster. What are you all talking about? It was a lie. He’s not a monster like you told me!”
As I look back on the relationship between my father and me, it was clear that the only reason I saw the good in my father was because of my dad, Harold Pierce. You see, it was my my dad, Harold, who encouraged me to see my daddy and gave me the courage to forgive him. For that, I will always be grateful.”