The life of John Witherspoon is one for the history books as a hilarious father-figure, an icon in the movie industry among others.
Known famously for his popular television shows and a successful career spanning five decades, a family spokesperson confirmed to the press that he died at his home on Tuesday.
“It is with the 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,” his family said in a statement.
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Witherspoon is survived by his wife, two sons and “a large family,” the statement said.
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.— John Witherspoon (@John_POPS_Spoon) October 30, 2019
– The Witherspoon Family pic.twitter.com/ov9P34kaMn
“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 a huge deal to us.”
At 77 years old, Witherspoon was best known for his roles as Willie Jones in the Friday series and voicing Robert Jebediah “Grandad” Freeman, in the comic series, The Boondocks.
He has acted in movies and TV shows in his successful career including Hollywood Shuffle, Boomerang, Vampire In Brooklyn, I’m Gonna Get You Sucka, House Party, Soul plane, Little Man, Black-ish, Black Jesus, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and The Incredible Hulk.
He was set to reprise his role in the movie, Last Friday until his death. His role as the hilarious father of Ice Cubes in F. Gary Gary’s Friday (1995) and its two sequels Next Friday (2000) and Friday After Next (2002), made him a household name in the industry.
Survived by two sons, Witherspoon was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1942. Born into a family of 11 siblings, he started his career as a songwriter for Motown. With a passion for the art still burning, he learned to play the trumpet and French horn.
Family, friends, actors, and acquittances took some time to mourn the sudden loss of the comedian and actor.
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
My dad, my grandpa, my comedic inspiration! I love you Spoons! Rest In Paradise, King pic.twitter.com/U6GsNrrKXF— Regina King (@ReginaKing) October 30, 2019
🎤 This day began with such joy.
And it’s ending with this heart wrenching news of John Witherspoon’s passing. One of our comic brothers. 🌹 RIP pic.twitter.com/efSqqw6BHJ
— Arsenio Hall (@ArsenioHall) October 30, 2019
God bless John Witherspoon. The definition of an icon. Wow. pic.twitter.com/2wUBXglzSW— Chance The Rapper (@chancetherapper) October 30, 2019
RIP my brother. You will be missed. Mannnnnnn this is a hard one. 🙏🏾John Witherspoon, Beloved ‘Friday’ and ‘The Wayans Bros.’ Star, Dead at 77 | Entertainment Tonight https://t.co/iUzyjCI4U1
— David Alan Grier (@davidalangrier) October 30, 2019
John Witherspoon in Fresh Prince of Bel Air. One of my favorite lines “You gotta get your mominimum and knock me out of this tree”. 🤣🤣🤣 RIP, John! pic.twitter.com/UUVB5v9CwL— Chad Baker (@ChadBlue_) October 30, 2019
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