Thomas Mikal Ford on stage throughout R Kelly performance at American airlines Arena on might 28, 2016 in Miami, Florida. Johnny Louis/WireImage
By Justin Tinsley

Actor thomas Mikal Ford, ideal known as Tommy of the legendary ’90s sitcom Martin, died Wednesday in an Atlanta hospital. The cause of fatality is apparently a ruptured ab aneurysm. He was 52.

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Ford — together with Martin Lawrence (Martin), Tisha Campbell-Martin (Gina), Tichina Arnold (Pam) and Carl Anthony Payne II (Cole) — was a vital figure in an significant cast. The ensemble’s relevance continues to increase nearly two decades since that 1997 finale. News the Ford’s fatality reverberated conveniently in an acting ar still reeling from the fatality of actor bill Nunn, that was best known for his function as Radio Raheem in Spike Lee’s 1989 classic Do The right Thing. Ford, a character actor par excellence, was far much more than just the beloved and also dryly hilarious Tommy.

A motivational speaker and also published author, Ford committed much of his enthusiasm to helping at-risk youth. His acting resume has actually credits past his 132-episode martin run. Ford starred together Eddie Murphy, Redd Foxx and also Richard Pryor in 1989’s Harlem Nights as Tommy Smalls. He play the hilarious goon and also Kid ‘n play antagonist Mink in 1992’s course Act. The flexed in new York Undercover and The Parkers, and even ventured into the animated human being with Disney’s The Proud Family.

There was Cole’s goofiness, Pam’s spunk, Gina’s feistiness and Martin’s unpredictability — Tommy to be the savvy, smooth, yet equally ludicrous glue of the crew.

But hell be remembered most as Tommy Strawn, Martin’s lovable finest friend that we all swore to be unemployed — till finding out earlier this year he actually wasn’t. The was about the very same time the college of Michigan’s Fab 5 commandeered college basketball through their flamboyance and bravado, the the Detroit-set young name arrived through its very own quirky quintet. There was Cole’s goofiness, Pam’s spunk, Gina’s feistiness and also Martin’s unpredictability — Tommy to be the savvy, smooth, yet equally ludicrous glue of the crew.

Ford’s fatality calls to mind James Avery, Uncle Phil indigenous The Fresh Prince the Bel-Air, who died in 2013. Avery no the main character, yet he was iconic, necessary and eternal. Prefer Uncle Phil and also Radio Raheem, we’ll miss the Los Angeles-born Ford forever. And while TVOne and also MTV2 marathons won’t feel quite the same, the best way to salary homage come the guy who carried us therefore much pleasure is to laugh. Laugh in the face of pain. There are so many indelible boy name moments. Rest in comedic peace, Tommy.


Tommy’s impeccable acronym game

Is this one actual requirement for friendship? more than likely not. However it’s amazing how a evil stand deserve to crack any kind of man through the best line that questioning. Martin never should have actually gone to fight the ticket that stated he didn’t involved a complete stop at a protect against sign. But we’re happy he did. Due to the fact that without that hilarious episode — Season 2, episode 16: “No Justice, No Peace” — we wouldn’t have actually the many hilarious inquiry in courtroom history. “WHAT walk G-T-D was standing FOR?!” If your civilization don’t recognize the answer, find new friends.

Tommy’s love for black-owned businesses

By far the funniest continuous theme throughout the collection was wonder what Tommy did because that a living. Case in point this hilarious scene with “Hustle Man” played by Tracy Morgan. Say what girlfriend want about Tommy constantly being “in between jobs,” he preserved money pump in his own community. Even if the same neighborhood played with a smedium-sized pizza.

Tommy’s ability to think top top the fly

Whether eulogizing a dead plumber (who wasn’t yes, really dead) on Martin’s couch or helping to supply a baby, Tommy was a male of numerous skills. Which in which method didn’t analyze into a job, yet that’s next to the point. In a series with so plenty of funny scenes, the baby shipment scene remains among the many criminally underrated. Indigenous Martin asking, “How far apart room the attractions?” to Cole acquiring his Doogie Howser on come Tommy asking where the baby’s umbilical cord is, the comedic chemistry here is through the roof.

When Tommy virtually lost it

Speaking the funny scenes from Martin, only two choices really suffice once debating the GOAT (greatest of every time). It’s either “That ain’t no cursed puppy!” from the “Chilligan’s Island” episode or the brand-new Jack City-inspired “Suspicious Minds.” Otherwise recognized as the steal CD player episode. Among the absolute standout moment in the scene, and please believe there were several, to be Tommy struggling to maintain character and also not laugh. Actually just how he controlled not to is a testament to that guy’s professionalism. Because if it were me? we’d still it is in shooting the scene.

Tommy’s voice of reason

Martin to be paranoid, which often led the to, well, you recognize where it led him. For this reason Tommy had actually to at some point talk him turn off the ledge, i m sorry oftentimes didn’t work due to the fact that Martin walk what he wanted to, regardless. That still doesn’t typical it no funny to clock Tommy try. Choose telling martin he can not afford the Hoshi-Toshi 2000 big screen TV. Or that Gina yes, really wasn’t trying to death him because that his insurance money money. Or the Gina wasn’t cheating on him. Tommy failure quite regularly at trying to convince Martin he to be wrong, but that’s part of what make Martin, Tommy and Cole such a dynamic trio.

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Tommy’s loyalty

All any man can ever before ask because that is because that his girlfriend to ride v him. And that’s what Tommy did. Tommy was Martin’s trainer when it to be time come fight Tommy “Hitman” Hearns (a struggle that never ever would have happened had actually Gina and Pam not ridden in Hearns’ limo, because that the record). Tommy never cracked under Thanksgiving pressure. And also Tommy stood tall through Martin, Cole and also Air Gordon together they all recorded L after l from the USA Women’s Basketball squad. And, the course, yes this one: the always classic — and near and dear to any kind of Martin pan — the DMV episode that resulted in both that them recording a fade. Low-key, too, martin vs. Miss Jeri to be the most underrated beef that the ’90s. R.I.P. Jeri Gray. R.I.P. Sherman Hemsley. R.I.P. Tommy. Three legends every in one scene. Every gone.