John Witherspoon, Comedian And Friday Actor, Dies Aged 77
Comedian and actor John Witherspoon has tragically passed away aged 77.
Witherspoon’s family announced his sudden death at his home in Sherman Oaks, California on Tuesday, October 29.
The comedian’s career began in stand up and spanned more than five decades, with his most notable film role being that of Ice Cube’s father, Willie Jones, in all of the Friday movies.
A statement from Witherspoon’s family reads:
It is with deep sadness we have to tweet this, but our husband and father has passed away.
He was a legend in the entertainment industry, and a father figure to all who watched him over the years.
We love you POPS always and forever.
Witherspoon also worked on The Boondocks, as the voice for Gramps, as well as playing Pops on The Wayans Brothers.
He also made appearances on The Tracy Morgan Show and Black Jesus.
He’s survived by his wife Angela and sons JD and Alexander.
Witherspoon was born in 1942 in Detroit. He launched his comedy career in the late 1970s, firstly appearing on comedy programmes such as The Richard Pryor Show and What’s Happening!! before making his feature debut in 1980’s The Jazz Singer.
In later years, Witherspoon was well known for his role as Ice Cube’s grumpy father in Friday, as well as sequels Next Friday and Friday After Next. He was also scheduled to appear in the latest instalment, Last Friday, which is currently in pre-production.
Witherspoon was also known for being Pops on the cult show The Wayans Bros., as well as voicing Gramps in The Boondocks, and making regular appearances on The Tracy Morgan Show.
At age 77, Witherspoon was still performing stand-up comedy, continuing to appear at comedy clubs up until his death.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.