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john witherspoon passes at age 77

October 30, 2019
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Beloved actor-comedian John Witherspoon passed away suddenly this morning. He was 77 years old.

“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.”

Born in Detroit in 1942, Witherspoon was known by older generations for his stand-up career, which began in the 1970s. But over the years, younger generations became acquainted with his work for his starring role on Aaron McGrudder’s hit animated series, The Boondocks, which is poised for a revival on HBO Max. Others remember Witherspoon from his breakout roles in Hollywood Shuffle, Boomerang, The Ladies Man, and Vampire in Brooklyn. Not to mention his role as Ice Cube’s grumpy dad in 1995’s Friday, which led to a reprisal of the role in Next Friday and Friday After Next. Witherspoon was expected to reprise the role in the upcoming final installment, Last Friday, too.

But perhaps most of all, Witherspoon was beloved for his role as Pops on The Wayans Bros.

Mr. Witherspoon lived a rich, full life that many of us will remember for years to come. Rest in Paradise, Pops.