What happened to Justin Pierce, aka Roach from Next Friday?

Bruno Cooke September 21, 2021
What happened to Justin Pierce, aka Roach from Next Friday?

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The death of Friday’s Anthony “AJ” Johnson, announced yesterday, has thrown the fate of Next Friday actor Justin Pierce – who played Roach in the sequel – into stark relief. What happened to Roach from Next Friday?

What happened to Roach actor Justin Pierce from Next Friday?

British actor and skateboarder Justin Pierce starred opposite Ice Cube, Mike Epps, John Witherspoon and Tommy Lister Jr in the second film of the Friday franchise, Next Friday.

Born 1975 in London, England, Pierce’s first film role was as Casper in Harmony Korine’s coming-of-age drama Kids, directed by Larry Clark.

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Source: YouTube [Remembering Famous People]

He grew up in the US and married stylist Gina Rizzo in Las Vegas in July 1999. Per Papermag’s obituary, they lived in Silverlake with Pierce’s two pit bulls, Mr Jones and Isis.

However, in July 2000, Justin Pierce was found hanged in a Las Vegas hotel room. The Clark county coroner, Ron Flud, confirmed hanging as the cause of death, and the manner of death as suicide. Pierce was just 25 years old.

Why are people remembering Justin Pierce’s death now?

Following news of the death of Friday actor Anthony “AJ” Johnson, social media users have taken the opportunity to commemorate all those members of the Friday franchise’s cast who are no longer alive.

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Johnson played Ezal, a homeless man with drug addiction, in Friday. He died earlier this month at the age of 55.

Ice Cube paid tribute to the late actor and comedian on Twitter. He described him as a “naturally funny dude” who was, at the same time, “straight outta Compton”.

No details of AJ Johnson’s cause of death have emerged yet. Pierce, meanwhile, left two suicide notes, according to reports. Neither is publicly available.

Where is he buried?

The day after hotel security discovered his body, Justin Pierce received what Kids director Larry Clark (pictured below) described as a “full-on Catholic wake”.

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Photo by Richard Blanshard/Getty Images

There was an open casket, “and all these skateboarders in their father’s suits”.

Actress Marianne Hagan, who worked with Pierce, said he was “21 going on 80”.

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“He had this expressive face that you don’t have if you’ve had a happy-go-lucky life, and he wore it like a badge of honor.”

He is buried in Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Valhalla, New York.

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Bruno is a novelist, amateur screenwriter and journalist with interests in digital media, storytelling, film and politics. He’s lived in France, China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, but returned to the UK for a degree (and because of the pandemic) in 2020. His articles have appeared in Groundviews, Forge Press and The Friday Poem, and most are readable on Medium or onurbicycle.com.