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 the versatile actor and comic 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 recognizable 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 on 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 liked that. He was my best friend & my idol. Love U Dad … I’ll miss u.
John Witherspoon was born in 1942. He performed in dozens of television shows and films.
Best known for his role as Willie Jones for the Friday series, Witherspoon also starred in films such as Hollywood Shuffle (1987), Boomerang (1992) and Vampire in Brooklyn (1995).
He has also made appearances on television shows such as The Wayans Bros (1995–99), The Tracy Morgan Show (2003), Barnaby Jones 1973), The Boondocks, From the Old School, in which he played an elderly working man who tries to prevent a neighborhood convenience store from being developed into a strip club..