Beloved actor, comedian and 90s film icon John Witherspoon died Tuesday (October 29) at his home. He was 77- years-old.
The family released an official statement to DEADLINE and asked for a “moment in privacy.”
“It is with deepest sorrow that we can confirm our beloved husband and father, John Witherspoon, one of the hardest working men in show business, died today at his home in Sherman Oaks at the age of 77,” 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 huge deal to us.”
Witherspoon is perhaps best known for his outlandish father and father-figure characters in such classic black films as Hollywood Shuffle, Friday, Next Friday and Friday After Next. He also appeared as “Pops” in the hugely popular WB series The Wayans Bros., alongside Marlon and Shawn Wayans.
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 man @johnnywitherspoon you were my tv dad and my mentor and my friend,” said Marlon on social media. “I miss you already. Something don’t feel right. This is heavy on my heart. Anyone that knows me knows how much i love pops. You have a strong wife and great kids. What an amazing family. Your boys damn near grew up on the #WayansBros set they’ll always be like my little brothers and sons. i will pass on all the jewels that you bestowed on to us. Thank you God for the many many many laughs that we shared on and off the set. You got “all the keys 🔑 “ and i know you got one to heaven’s gate. Anytime i want to laugh or to see you I’m gonna put on a episode of wayans bros and laugh until i cry. I miss already…. hope your dancing in heaven with ugly white shoes on. “Pops pops sugar pops”. #ripjohnwitherspoon #mysecondpops
Check out Witherspoon below in one of my favorite films—Boomerang—featuring Eddie Murphy, Halle Berry, Martin Lawrence and David Alan Grier. I used to work at movie theater (Park 11 Theaters) when this film came out in 1992 and would always take my breaks at this point in the film so I could laugh out loud with the audience.
Thank you Mr. Witherspoon for a lifetime of laughter. #BANGBANGBANG
PHOTO CREDIT: RayCornelius.com