Comedic actor John Witherspoon, whose five decades in Hollywood included starring roles in the cult “Friday” film franchise and the popular TV series “The Wayans Bros.” and “The Boondocks,” has died.
The date and cause of death has not yet been released. He was 77.
Although the Detroit native broke into the entertainment business as a stand-up comic in the 1960s, he would eventually rack up more than 80 acting credits during his career.
On the big screen, Witherspoon was best known for portraying Ice Cube’s father in the cult film “Friday” (1995) and its two sequels “Next Friday” (2000) and “Friday After Next″ (2002). He was slated to reprise the role in a fourth film titled “Last Friday,” which was still in pre-production.
Witherspoon also appeared in the movies “House Party,” “Vampire in Brooklyn” and “Bulworth.”
On television, he most memorably voiced the role of Gramps on “The Boondocks,” and played John “Pops” Williams on “The Wayans Bros.” Soon after word of his death reached social media, “RIP Pops” began trending.
In between acting gigs, Witherspoon continued to hone his comedic talents with live appearances and was a frequent guest on “Late Show with David Letterman.” He was scheduled to perform a series of dates at the Stand Up Live comedy club in Huntsville, Alabama next month, CBS News reported.
Witherspoon and his wife Angela also created a charity to serve as a resource for artists who need short-term grants.
Actress Marsha Warfield, who co-starred in the hit TV comedy “Night Court,” praised his kindness and generosity.
“Spoon was a friend, a brother, a funny, talented comedian and a good man,” she wrote on Facebook. “He was the first comedian I met when I got to Los Angeles, and he never hesitated to share leads, advice, contacts, introductions or anything else.”
Early Wednesday, Witherspoon’s son, stand-up comic J.D. Witherspoon, shared several photos on Twitter in remembrance of his dad: