John Witherspoon Dies: ‘Friday’ & ‘Wayans Bros.’ Star Was 77


129
129 points

John Witherspoon, an actor-comedian who for decades made audiences laugh in TV shows and films, including the Friday feature franchise and the WB’s The Wayans Bros. , died suddenly at his home today. He was 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, 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, 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.


What's Your Reaction?

hate hate
0
hate
confused confused
0
confused
fail fail
0
fail
fun fun
0
fun
geeky geeky
0
geeky
love love
0
love
lol lol
0
lol
omg omg
0
omg
win win
0
win

0 Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments

comments

Choose A Format
Personality quiz
Series of questions that intends to reveal something about the personality
Trivia quiz
Series of questions with right and wrong answers that intends to check knowledge
Poll
Voting to make decisions or determine opinions
Story
Formatted Text with Embeds and Visuals
List
The Classic Internet Listicles
Countdown
The Classic Internet Countdowns
Open List
Submit your own item and vote up for the best submission
Ranked List
Upvote or downvote to decide the best list item
Meme
Upload your own images to make custom memes
Video
Youtube, Vimeo or Vine Embeds
Audio
Soundcloud or Mixcloud Embeds
Image
Photo or GIF
Gif
GIF format