When you’re gone too soon, you change a lot of lives. What makes the mark of a true icon, however, is the body of work that elevates you in those people’s minds. This is true of Actor/Director/Producer Tommy Ford.
As elevated nationally by his character “Tommy” on the successful long running TV sitcom Martin, it’s not surprising his success ran parallel to what he did in and for the film, television and theater industry. Truth be told, Ford’s career started way before the sitcom success in 1987. In the 29-years of work on the big and small screen, he managed to appear in 83 movies and television programs. Not bad for a man who never had a job as his character portrayed on the popular sitcom.
You’ll kick yourself for not remembering roles in such vehicles as Harlem Nights, New York Undercover, The Parkers, A Different World, Uncle Buck, and The Jaime Foxx Show among his acting credits. To his credit, the 52-year old Ford adds 9-projects as a producer, and 4-projects as a director including South of Where We Live. Ever in demand, he found time to co-host The Texas Gospel Music Awards in 1993, as well as being the “Pope of Comedy” on Bill Bellamy’s Who’s Got Jokes? It’s hard to believe this talent wanted to become a preacher but opted to study acting in college. It also might explain why Ford was a dynamic personality that had the ability to showcase these talents in the various arenas he was involved in.
Still, there was more Ford wanted and had to offer, which brings us to his last project due to open later this year. The California-born actor who resided in Florida is described y his peers as an enthusiastic, accessible and humble mentor. He wanted to be involved with the film The Last Time, since the subject matter was that important. The film deals with domestic violence awareness but with a different slant on this topic.
Ford he relies on the word of God to guide him and inspire his purpose in life. He’ll often weave scripture in his day-to-day conversation, in an attempt to not only give back but motivate through communication. Ford defines a legal hustle using those tools when asked.
”Everyday I’m hustling, but there’s a difference between hustling a legal way. When you’re working hard, the bible says ‘Man don’t work, he can’t eat.’ There’s a difference between a good hustle and a raggedy or ratchet hustle where you’re out there trying to hurt folks. So I encourage you to do like the scripture says and demonstrate work along with your faith.””
Tommy Ford truly is a man who lived by and flourished through his word. He’ll be missed by many.
- Joseph Walker, III