Legendary African-American actor and comedian John Witherspoon passed away unexpectedly at age 77. “Pops” carved an unforgettable career and personal space in Black TV and cinematography by making audiences laugh for decades in his many roles.
So…my Dad died today & honestly I’m not sure how to feel. I’m sad, but I’m also happy 4 all the great times we had together. We’d roast each other like homies more than Father & Son, and I really liked that. He was my best friend & my idol.
Love U Dad…I’ll miss u.
– J.D. pic.twitter.com/zvzep5S11I
— J.D. (@jdwitherspoon) October 30, 2019
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 a huge deal to us.”
Celebrities flocked to Twitter to share their fond memories of the fallen father figure.
— Chuck D (@MrChuckD) October 30, 2019
Marlon Wayans co-created and starred with his brother Shawn in the comedy series Wayans Bros., on which Witherspoon played their dad “Pops.” It was a name that would become the brand that elevated Witherspoon’s career.
“I’m sad. Broken. Hurt.. yet extremely grateful to God that I got to spend 5 years of my life working with one of the funniest sweetest wisest humblest loving men @johnnywitherspoon,” Marlon Wayans wrote. “You were my tv dad and my mentor and my friend. I miss you already.”
Witherspoon, who was born in Detroit in 1942 launched a stand-up comedy career in the 70s before breaking into movies. His breakout role was in 1995 when he played Ice Cube’s grumpy grandpops in Ice Cube’s classic Friday movie franchise.
John Witherspoon’s legendary scenes, funniest moments…Bang! Bang! Bang!