Ricky Harris, a comedian and actor known for roles on Everybody Hates Chris and Dope, died on Monday. He was 54.
Raised in Long Beach, California, Harris was childhood friend of Snoop Dogg. The two sang in their church choir together — and would go on to collaborate on Snoop’s 1993 Doggystyle, where Harris provided a hilarious and racy commentary on the track “W-Balls.”
Harris would continue to contribute to the 1990s West Coast rap scene, on tracks from Ice Cube, Dr. Dre and Tha Dogg Pound. He eventually broke out as a performer on HBO’s Def Comedy Jam.
His acting debut came in the 1993 drama Poetic Justice, alongside Janet Jackson and Tupac Shakur. Two years later, he had a memorable role in Michael Mann’s heist film Heat, starring Al Pacino and Robert De Niro.
On the small screen there were credits on Moesha, The Game and The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. Film credits included Dope, This Christmas, and Bones, alongside Snoop.
Perhaps most memorable was Harris’ recurring role in the hit UPN/CW comedy Everybody Hates Chris. There, he played the neighborhood ne’er-do-well Malvo — an often foe of Chris Rock‘s childhood counterpart.
As news of Harris’ death broke, comedians and musicians expressed their condolences on social media — including an emotional Snoop, who called the actor “a dear friend” and “my big brother.”
“Gonna miss my family and friend,” he added — sharing a throwback video of one of their former collaborations. “We made this up on the fly,” he added. “We talked about this day rest well.”
Harris is survived by his mother, ex-wife and two daughters.
His last project — the upcoming action flick Check Point — is out Jan. 20.