LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — John Witherspoon, an actor and comedian best known for his role as Willie Jones in the “Friday” film franchise, died Tuesday at his home in Sherman Oaks. He was 77.
In a message posted to Witherspoon’s Twitter account Tuesday night, the family confirmed his death.
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
Witherspoon also starred in films such as “Boomerang” and “Vampire in Brooklyn,” alongside Eddie Murphy. He also made numerous appearances on television shows such as “The Tracy Morgan Show,” “The Boondocks” and “Black Jesus.”
The actor was born in Detroit in 1942 and launched his stand-up comedy and acting career in the late 1970s with guest-staring television roles. He made his feature debut in the 1980 film “The Jazz Singer.”
Regina King tweeted out Tuesday evening, “My dad, my grandpa, my comedic inspiration! I love you Spoons! Rest In Paradise, King.”
Witherspoon’s son, J.D. Witherspoon, also tweeted Tuesday evening about his father, sharing some family photos along with the caption:
“So…my Dad died today & honestly I’m not sure how to feel. I’m sad, but also happy 4 the great times we 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. – J.D.”
Witherspoon was scheduled to appear at the Stand Up Live in Hunstville, Alabama later this month.