Actor And Comedian John Witherspoon Dies At 77
American actor and comedian John Witherspoon passed away today at his home at the age of 77, Deadline reports.
Witherspoon’s family told Deadline in a 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.”
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 was also the voice of Grandad Freeman in 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.