I’m heartbroken to report legendary comedian and actor John Witherspoon passed away suddenly on Tuesday, October 29, at his Los Angeles home.
He was 77.
While John had a stellar career, he is most loved for his roles in the iconic Friday films and as “Pops” on the “The Wayans Bros.”
The Witherspoon family released the following statement:
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.
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.
John’s son, JD Witherspoon took to Instagram to mourn his father’s death, writing:
So…my Dad died today & honestly I’m not sure how to feel. I’m sad, but I’m also happy 4 all the great times we had together. We’d roast each other like homies more than Father & Son, and I really loved that about us. In all seriousness I work as hard as I do thanks to seeing Him grind for literally 77 years of his life, and I’m damn proud to be his son. If I have even half the career & impact he has had on people I’ll be very happy. His legacy will live on through me, my family, his friends, and everyone else who was touched by him here on earth.
He was my best friend & my Hero.
I Love U Dad…I’ll miss u. – J.D
See his original post below:
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, The Ladies Man and Fakin’ Da Funk.
Witherspoon was perhaps best known for his role as Ice Cube’s grumpy dad in the 1995 breakout hit Friday. He also appeared in the sequels Next Friday and 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 Bros., Witherspoon did stints on such comedy series as The Tracy Morgan Show, The First Family and Black Jesus. He also was a frequent guest on Late Show with David Letterman.
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.
Pops will be sorely missed. This is heartbreaking.
Rest in paradise, Mr. Witherspoon.