Legendary Actor/Comedian John Witherspoon, Dead at 77

Posted October 30, 2019

image via Instagram

In what comes as shocking and very sad news, legendary actor/comedian John Witherspoon, best known for his iconic role as Willie Jones in the ‘Friday’ series (among many other hit films and shows), has died. He was 77.

Reports began spreading on Wednesday morning (Oct.30) with the Witherspoon family later taking to social media to confirm the news and ask fans for their privacy at this time.

via Deadline:

“It is with deepest sorrow that we can confirm our beloved husband and father, John Witherspoon, one of the hardest working men in show business, died today at his home in Sherman Oaks,” Witherspoon’s family said in a statement to Deadline on Tuesday.

“It is with deepest sorrow that we can confirm our beloved husband and father, John Witherspoon, one of the hardest working men in show business, died today at his home in Sherman Oaks at the age of 77,” Witherspoon’s family said in a statement to Deadline. “He is survived by his wife Angela, and his sons JD, Alexander, and a large family. We are all in shock, please give us a minute for a moment in privacy and we will celebrate his life and his work together. John used to say ‘I’m no big deal’, but he was huge deal to us.”

Comedy great Witherspoon was born in Detroit in 1942 as John Weatherspoon. He launched a stand-up comedy career and began acting in the late 1970s with guest-starring TV roles, making his feature debut in the 1980 The Jazz Singer. Witherspoon appeared in numerous films, including Hollywood Shuffle, Boomerang, Vampire in Brooklyn, I’m Gonna Get You Sucka, Bird and The Meteor Man.

Witherspoon was perhaps best known for his role as Ice Cube’s grumpy dad in Friday. He also appeared in the sequels Next Friday, Friday After Next, and was expected to reprise his role in the long-gestating final installment of the franchise titled Last Friday.

Witherspoon also voiced Gramps on the cult animated series The Boondocks. He likely would’ve returned for the series’ upcoming revival on HBO Max. Also known for his role as Pops on The Wayans Brothers, Witherspoon did stints on such comedy series as The Tracy Morgan Show, The First Family and Black Jesus.

Even with his busy film and TV career, standup comedy remained an important part of Witherspoon’s life. At age 77, he continued to perform regularly and had several dates coming up at the time of his death.

His children and industry peers and friends took to social media to share their condolences and memories of the iconic performer.

View this post on Instagram

I’m sad. Broken. Hurt.. yet extremely grateful to God that i got to spend 5 years of my life working with one of the funniest sweetest wisest humblest loving man @johnnywitherspoon you were my tv dad and my mentor and my friend. I miss you already. Something don’t feel right. This is heavy on my heart. Anyone that knows me knows how much i love pops. You have a strong wife and great kids. What an amazing family. Your boys damn near grew up on the #WayansBros set they’ll always be like my little brothers and sons. i will pass on all the jewels that you bestowed on to us. Thank you God for the many many many laughs that we shared on and off the set. You got “all the keys 🔑 “ and i know you got one to heaven’s gate. Anytime i want to laugh or to see you I’m gonna put on a episode of wayans bros and laugh until i cry. I miss already…. hope your dancing in heaven with ugly white shoes on. “Pops pops sugar pops”. #ripjohnwitherspoon #mysecondpops

A post shared by Marlon Wayans (@marlonwayans) on

Our condolences to the Witherspoon family.

image via Chris Brown Instagram Chris Brown opened up his home
image via Popeyes Twitter/Facebook After almost two months of waiting, Popeyes

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