John Witherspoon, star of comedies such as Friday, The Boondocks, and I’m Gonna Git You Sucka, has sadly passed away at the age of 77, as confirmed by his son, J.D. Witherspoon.
Born in Detroit, Michigan, Witherspoon moved out to Hollywood in the 60’s, where he begun doing stand up comedy. It was during this time, in the 70’s, that he began popping up on shows such as Barnaby Jones, What’s Happening!!, Good Times, WKRP in Cincinnati and The Incredible Hulk. In 1977, he was given the chance to be a repertory cast member of The Richard Pryor Show, alongside fellow up and comer Robin Williams. Sadly, this was to be short lived, as it was believed (and probably rightfully so) that Pryor’s act wasn’t a good fit for television.
In the 1980’s and early 90’s, Witherspoon began appearing in a slew of films, such as a remake of The Jazz Singer, Rat Boy, I’m Gonna Git You Sucka, Bird, Hollywood Shuffle, Boomerang, and House Party, where he played an irritated neighbor. By 1995, he got to play a role he would be best remember for, as the grumpy Willie Jones in Friday, a role he subsequently reprised in the sequels.
1995 would also find him his biggest success on the small screen when he was cast as Pops on The Wayans Bros., which ran for over one hundred episodes.
After this, he would go on to do more cameos and voice over roles on shows such as Living Single, The Proud Family, The Tracy Morgan Show, and Kim Possible. In 2005, he started playing Granddad on The Boondocks, which ran all the way until 2014. Before he passed, he filmed parts for I Got the Hookup 2 and Reality Queen. Sadly, Last Friday, which would see him reprising his role as Willie Jones never got past pre-production before his passing.
Up until the end, John Witherspoon remained as dedicated as ever, still touring around the country.
Let’s all honor John Witherspoon by taking a look at the man at work.