John Witherspoon Dies: Comedian & ‘Friday’ Star Was 77
Comedy legend John Witherspoon died today at his home in Sherman Oaks at the age of 77. “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.” his family said in a statement.
The hilarious actor is best known for his father like figure character movie and television roles including Friday, The Wayans Brothers, Boomerang, and Vampire in Brooklyn. He was also the voice of Robert Jebediah “Grandad” Freeman on the adult swim animated television series The Boondocks.
Friends and colleagues mourned the beloved actor-comedian and shared their memories of him on social media with photos and heartfelt messages.
“I’m devastated over the passing of John Witherspoon,” wrote Ice Cube above a photo with Witherspoon. “Life won’t be as funny without him.”
Witherspoon was probably best known for his role as Ice Cube’s grumpy dad Willie Jones in Ice Cube’s hit Friday comedy feature franchise.
“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,” Marlon Wayans wrote. “You were my tv dad and my mentor and my friend. I miss you already.”
I’m devastated over the passing of John Witherspoon. Life won’t be as funny without him. pic.twitter.com/gtmiZiEppP
— Ice Cube (@icecube) October 30, 2019
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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
Born in Detroit, Michigan, Witherspoon kicked off his career as a stand-up comedian and made his television debut in the 1970s, appearing in shows including the detective series “Barnaby Jones.”
He was, arguably, best known for playing for his role as Ice Cube’s dad in the “Friday,” film franchise. The movie and role made Witherspoon a house hold name.
His death was sudden and untimely, and had several dates coming up at the time of his death.