Along with Idiocracy‘s President Camacho, The Fifth Element‘s President Lindberg frequently tops the lists of best fictional movie presidents. Alas, the man who stood tall against a giant outer space ball of evil stands no more. Tommy Lister Jr., more frequently billed by his ironic nickname Tiny, has died soon after complaining of COVID-like symptoms.
Recognizable for his large size, bald head, and one blind eye, Lister perhaps gained most of his fame for his roles opposite Ice Cube in Friday, and Hulk Hogan in No Holds Barred. Yet he was also a genre mainstay. Lister portrayed the first Klingon ever encountered by Starfleet in “Broken Bow,” the Star Trek: Enterprise pilot. Christopher Nolan put his menacing features to good use and opposite effect in The Dark Knight, as one of the prisoners who thwarts the Joker’s boat-bombing scheme. He appeared in the comic book adaptation Barb Wire, and the comic-like The Meteor Man.
Lister often played muscular villains and henchmen. However, he proved equally adept at self-parody with characters like the elephant cub-disguised Finnick in Zootopia. He even got his own action figure from McFarlane Toys as the older brother — and son of Satan — to Adam Sandler’s Little Nicky.
Lister opted to pursue acting after a try-out for the United States Football League resulted in their cutting him. But it’s safe to say his career as a character actor will continue to bring him more lasting fame and new fans even now. The actor was 62 years old.
In recognition of his Klingon moment, we bid him a hearty “Qapla’!”