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Nia Long reflects on working with late ‘Friday’ star Anthony Johnson

The late actor and Long worked together on the set of ‘Friday.’

Nia Long Getty Images for AppleTV+

In the wake of Anthony Johnson’s death, Nia Long is holding on to the memories they built on the set of Friday. During a recent interview with Hip-Hop Wired, the Love Jones actress reflected on working alongside the comedian while praising his work in other films.

A.J. was a joy on set to work with, and one thing about him when you saw him, you knew that a joke was coming,” Long said. “Along with Friday, A.J. has left behind a beautiful body of work that will live on forever.”

After being found “lifeless” at a Los Angeles store earlier this month, Johnson was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was eventually pronounced dead.

The news of his death rocked many in Hollywood, including Bow Wow, who Johnson helped to get discovered, and Ice Cube, who casted the comedian for his role as Ezal in the 1995 film Friday. In honor of the late star, who also appeared in The Players Club, Cube penned a tribute, which doubled as an apology for his failure to bring his character in Friday back to the big screen one more time.

“Sad to wake up to the news about AJ Johnson passing away,” the N.W.A. rapper wrote. “Naturally funny dude who was straight outta Compton at the same time. Sorry I couldn’t bring your character Ezal back to the big screen in Last Friday.

In the wake of Johnson’s death, his widow, Lexis Jones Mason, initially expressed concern about her inability to afford the costs of a funeral for her late husband, but after sharing her GoFundMe, fans have generously donated in hopes to help her raise the $20,000 she needs to bury the actor in California’s Rose Hills cemetery. Fellow comedian Michael Blackson, who was friends with the “Martin” star, also donated $10,000 to help with Johnson’s funeral expenses.

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