John Witherspoon ‘Friday’ actor and comedian dies aged 77

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John Witherspoon ‘Friday’ actor and comedian dies aged 77
John Witherspoon

Actor-comedian John Witherspoon, who memorably played Ice Cube’s father in the Friday films, has died. He was 77. His manager Alex Goodman confirmed that Witherspoon died in Los Angeles. No cause of death was released.

The actor had a prolific career, co-starring in three Friday films, appearing on The Wayans Bros television series and voicing the grandfather in The Boondocks animated series. His film roles included Vampire in Brooklyn and Boomerang, and he was a frequent guest on Late Show with David Letterman.

For many, his most recognisable role was Pops, Ice Cube’s father in the stoner comedy Friday and its two sequels, playing a crude but affectionate father trying to guide his son to be better.

“Life won’t be as funny without him,” Ice Cube said in a Twitter post, adding that he was devastated by news of Witherspoon’s death.

Regina King, who appeared as Witherspoon’s daughter in Friday and also voiced both of his grandsons in the animated series The Boondocks, called him her “comedic inspiration” on Twitter.

Goodman referred to a family statement issued to Deadline that said the family was in shock over Witherspoon’s death. The statement says Witherspoon, who was born on 27 January, 1942, is survived by his wife, Angela, and sons JD and Alexander.

JD Witherspoon tweeted that he was happy for all the great times he and his dad 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.”

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