It is with great sadness that Deadline reported that actor and comedian John Witherspoon unexpectedly passed away at the age of 77 in his home on Tuesday (Oct. 29).
Most famously known for his roles in the Friday franchise, “The Wayans Bros.,” and “The Boondocks,” the star was a household name, and was loved by millions of black families’ who grow up watching him in some of the most classic, influential shows and movies of our culture.
The now-late actor’s family issued a statement to Deadline about his death. “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,” they confirmed. “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 as John Weatherspoon in 1942 in Detroit, Michigan; the legend began what would be his decades-long acting and comedy career in the 1970s. He would eventually land his first role in “The Jazz Singer” TV show in 1980. Other TV and movie projects that featured him in all of his talented glory included “Hollywood Shuffle, Boomerang, Vampire in Brooklyn, I’m Gonna Get You Sucka, Bird, and The Meteor Man,” Deadline adds, as well as “The Tracy Morgan Show,” “Black Jesus,” and “The First Family.”
Some close friends and fellow entertainment figures have already expressed their condolences about his passing on social media. Take a look at some stars saying goodbye to Witherspoon below.
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
Rip John Witherspoon— DJ POOH (@DJPooh) October 30, 2019
Naw, not " Pops" R.I.P John Witherspoon. to his family...— Jamal Crawford (@JCrossover) October 30, 2019
John Witherspoon was such an influence to young black men in my generation growing up. My heart is so heavy.— Broderick Hunter (@BroderickHunter) October 30, 2019
Rest in peace, John Witherspoon. Your impact on the culture and black entertainment will live on forever, and never be forgotten.