Comic actor John Witherspoon, best known for his role as Ice Cube’s father in the “Friday” movies, has died at age 77.
Witherspoon had a long career in stand-up comedy, television and movies dating back more than 40 years. But he was best known by fans of the cult-hit comedy for playing Willie Jones, the father of Ice Cube’s character in ‘Friday’ that spawned two sequels and an animated series.
Witherspoon’s family shared the news via social media late Tuesday evening, stating:
“It is with deep sadness we have to tweet this, but our husband & father John Witherspoon 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 & forever.”
It is with deep sadness we have to tweet this, but our husband & father John Witherspoon 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 & forever.
– The Witherspoon Family pic.twitter.com/ov9P34kaMn
— John Witherspoon (@John_POPS_Spoon) October 30, 2019
The actor had a prolific career, co-starring in three “Friday” films, appearing on “The Wayans Bros.” television series and voicing the grandfather in “The Boondocks” animated series.
John Witherspoon’s other acting credits include: House Party, The Five Heartbeats, Boomerang, Bebe’s Kids, The Meteor Man, Martin, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Vampire In Brooklyn, Living Single, The Proud Family, Soul Plane, many more!
For many his most recognizable role was “Pops,” Ice Cube’s father in the stoner comedy “Friday” and its two sequels, a crude but affectionate father trying to guide his son to be better.
Witherspoon had also been rumored to be working on the “Last Friday” sequel with Ice Cube and had even been filmed on the set of the highly anticipated sexual a few years back (click HERE if you missed that).
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
Fellow comedian/actor Mike Epps, who also appeared alongside Witherspoon in sever “Friday” sequels, shared a tribute via Instagram after hearing the news:
View this post on Instagram
Aww man this is a heart breaker I remember the first day on the set of next Friday and you told me calm down and let the jokes come natural I was so honored to have work with you thank you for all the advice and laughs and great movies that you gave us Jhon we love you man rest easy see you in comedy heaven ????? you be truly missed
The legendary funnyman also starred alongside Jackee Harry for 2 seasons on ‘The First Family’ which aired on the CW. Jackee hit the net to share her condolences to her longtime friend.
I’m absolutely shattered at the news of my great friend John Witherspoon passing. May love surround his entire family and fan base – a comedy legend we’ll never forget. ?? pic.twitter.com/PqO0nysZTj
— Jackée Harry (@JackeeHarry) October 30, 2019
Witherspoon’s manager, Alex Goodman, also confirmed the news with media that Witherspoon had passed away in Los Angeles. No cause of death has been released.
Sadly, a video was uploaded to Witherspoon’s YouTube just yesterday (October 28, 2019) where he shared that Boondocks was coming back and the Friday sequel was still being filmed.