Tributes pour in for John Witherspoon after actor dies at 77 originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com
Emotional tributes from celebrities, friends and family have poured in after news that actor and comedian John Witherspoon has died at 77.
The Detroit-born comedian, known for his role as Willie Jones in the "Friday" films, died in Los Angeles on Tuesday, according to his family.
"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 said in a statement on Twitter.
His son, stand-up comedian J.D. Witherspoon, posted a touching tribute on Twitter, calling his dad his "best friend" and "idol."
So...my Dad died today & honestly I’m not sure how to feel. I’m sad, but I’m also happy 4 all 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. pic.twitter.com/zvzep5S11I— J.D. (@jdwitherspoon) October 30, 2019
An array of comedians, former co-stars and fans have chimed in online to remember and honor Witherspoon.
As the tributes poured in on social media Wednesday, #RIPSpoon and #RipPops began trending on Twitter.
Ice Cube, who co-starred as Witherspoon's son in "Friday," said, "Life won't be as funny without him."
I’m devastated over the passing of John Witherspoon. Life won’t be as funny without him. pic.twitter.com/gtmiZiEppP— Ice Cube (@icecube) October 30, 2019
Marlon Wayans shared a lengthy post on Instagram about his TV dad, mentor and friend.
"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," he wrote.
T.I., Arsenio Hall, Regina King and many others shared their memories of Witherspoon on social media.
Glad I had a chance to get to know you King. You’re truly one of the funniest most genuine people anyone could ever meet. Rest easy and God bless your transition. 🙏🏽👑 #RIPSpoon pic.twitter.com/perjEIvEd9— T.I. (@Tip) October 30, 2019
🎤 This day began with such joy.— Arsenio Hall (@ArsenioHall) October 30, 2019
And it’s ending with this heart wrenching news of John Witherspoon’s passing. One of our comic brothers. 🌹 RIP pic.twitter.com/efSqqw6BHJ
My dad, my grandpa, my comedic inspiration! I love you Spoons! Rest In Paradise, King pic.twitter.com/U6GsNrrKXF— Regina King (@ReginaKing) October 30, 2019
Oh man, so sorry to hear about John Witherspoon. A great comic and a class act. Years ago, I had the privileged of working with him and not only was his act hilarious but he would also kill by dropping one of his many unforgettable movie quotes. #RIPJohnWitherspoon #coordinate pic.twitter.com/XsO71EKnGw— Matt "Nickname" Knudsen (@mattknudsen) October 30, 2019
Witherspoon started out as a stand-up comic in the 1960s and 70s, where he befriended fellow stand-up comic David Letterman, who later became godfather to Witherspoon's sons.
Witherspoon added acting to his resume and made his first TV appearance on the 1970s detective drama, "Barnaby Jones."
He became a regular presence on TV, mostly in sitcoms and comedies, which included WKRP in Cincinnati, "Good Times," "What's Happening!", and "The Richard Pryor Show."
Witherspoon's first credited film role was in the 1980 Neil Diamond remake of "The Jazz Singer" but as he did in television, he was best known for guest roles in comedies including the 1988 action film parody "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka" and 2004's "Soul Plane."
In addition to the first three "Friday" films, Witherspoon was slated to reprise the role in yet another sequel, "Last Friday."
As of Wednesday morning, no cause of death had been provided.
Witherspoon is survived by his wife of over 30 years, Angela Robinson, and two sons.