Comedian and Actor John Witherspoon, Who Played Dad In ‘Friday’, Dies At 77

Comedian and Actor John Witherspoon, Who Played Dad In ‘Friday’, Dies At 77

John Witherspoon Died
Actor John Witherspoon died Tuesday, Oct. 29. In this FILE PHOTO, John Witherspoon attends Daytime Emmy and Fall 2012 Launch party on the 19th June 2012 at The Four Seasons Hotel,Beverly Hills,CA. Credit: 4521406Globe Photos/MediaPunch /IPX

The world lost some of its laughter yesterday. Beloved comedian and actor John Witherspoon died at 77. His family confirmed the news via Twitter.

“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,” they wrote.

Known just as much for his wisdom and kindness, Witherspoon was born John Weatherspoon in Detroit, but later changed his name, reported ABC7. He was one of 11 siblings and worked several jobs in Detroit before heading to Hollywood and making it big, reported the Detroit Free Press.

His larger than life personality, signature voice and immense comedic talent allowed him to enjoy a successful career that spanned over 40 years.

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Though he played in a variety of roles, Witherspoon was most known for his iconic roles as Willie Jones, Ice Cube’s dad in the “Friday” movie franchise, Pops on “The Wayans Bros.” and Granddad Robert Jebediah Freeman on “The Boondocks.”

Once news of Witherspoon’s death broke, tributes began pouring in from family, friends and fans alike. His son JD Witherspoon – who followed in his father’s footsteps as a standup comic and entertainer and media host – was very close to his father. He wrote a touching tribute on Instagram saying he was “damn proud” to be Witherspoon’s son. He closed it with with, “He was my best friend & my Hero. I Love U Dad…I’ll miss u.”

Actress Regina King, who worked with him on “Friday” and “The Boondocks” tweeted, “”My dad, my grandpa, my comedic inspiration! I love you Spoons! Rest In Paradise, King.”

Ice Cube also tweeted his sorrow over the loss. “I’m devastated over the passing of John Witherspoon. Life won’t be as funny without him,” Cube wrote.

In a statement to Deadline, Witherspoon’s family added, “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.”