We’ve got some terrible news to pass along today, as beloved comic actor John Witherspoon has passed away at the age of 77. At this time, no exact cause of death has been revealed. The sad news comes directly from Witherspoon’s official Twitter account, with the actor’s family confirming his passing with an official statement. “It is with deep sadness we have to tweet this, but our husband & father John Witherspoon has passed away,” the statement reads. “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.”
Born in 1942 as John Weatherspoon, the future actor would later change the spelling of his surname to the one we recognize. Early in life, Witherspoon had done some modeling work, but noticed he had a penchant for comedy. By the 60s and 70s, he had begun performing stand-up comedy, quickly garnering the attention of other famous comedians like Robin Williams, Jay Leno, and David Letterman. His success in comedy then led to getting gigs in movies and television, and by 1977, Witherspoon snagged his first recurring role on the classic comedy series The Richard Pryor Show. Clearly, the comic actor had found his calling.
In the decades since, Witherspoon appeared in many well-known comedies on both the big and small screens. Many of us probably remember him best from the Friday trilogy, where he memorably played the father of Ice Cube’s character. He had also been expected to reprise the role once again for the planned fourth installment. Witherspoon also had a hilarious role in the classic comedy movie House Party as an irritated neighbor constantly woken up by the partiers. Additionally, he has had funny roles in movies like Hollywood Shuffle, Boomerang, and Vampire in Brooklyn, also appearing in TV shows such as The Wayans Bros., The Tracy Morgan Show, Black-ish, and, more recently, Black Jesus.
Aside from his work on screen, Witherspoon had immense talent as a voice actor as well. Another of his most appreciated roles was as the voice of as the voice of Robert “Granddad” Freeman on Aaron McGruder’s animated series The Boondocks, which he played between 2005 and 2014 across the show’s four seasons. Previously, it had been reported Witherspoon would again voice Granddad in the upcoming reboot of the series for HBO Max. While recasting the role to move forward on the series is possible, Witherspoon’s distinct voice will certainly be missed on the show. Without a doubt, the man was one of a kind, and his sudden loss has made the world a little less funny.
There’s no telling how many people across the world Witherspoon has brought laughter to with his various comedic performances. We thank him for his contributions and /tag/obituaries may he rest in peace. Our thoughts are with the Witherspoon family and close friends of the late actor at this time. This news comes to us from the account of John Witherspoon on 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.
– The Witherspoon Family pic.twitter.com/ov9P34kaMn
— John Witherspoon (@John_POPS_Spoon) October 30, 2019