John Witherspoon passed away suddenly yesterday at the age of 77. His death has sparked an outpouring of tributes from Hollywood and the world of hip hop. Witherspoon is arguably best known for his role as Ice Cube's grumpy father in the Friday comedy franchise, although he had done a lot more than just that role, including I'm Gonna Get You Sucka and House Party, along with many others. He also had roles on the small screen in The Richard Pryor Show, The Wayans Bros., and The Tracy Morgan Show. Now, the world is grieving his loss.
Actor/rapper Ice Cube says, "I'm devastated over the passing of John Witherspoon. Life won't be as funny without him," which seems to sum up just about what everybody else is saying about Witherspoon. Regina King, who also starred alongside Witherspoon and Ice Cube in Friday took a different approach. She was able to work with the actor on The Boondocks animated series too. "My dad, my grandpa, my comedic inspiration! I love you Spoons! Rest In Paradise, King," said King on social media. Chance the Rapper said, "God bless John Witherspoon. The definition of an icon. Wow."
David Alan Grier starred alongside John Witherspoon many times over the years. "RIP my brother. You will be missed. Mannnnnnn this is a hard one," said Grier in a social media post. Witherspoon got his start on The Richard Pryor show back in 1977 and had a very long and successful career, which brought him even more attention when he starred on The Wayans Bros. show. Marlon Wayans had this to say in tribute to Witherspoon.
"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 John Witherspoon you were my tv dad and my mentor and my friend. 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 Wayans Bros. 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 an 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.'"
Comedian Jay Pharoah also posted a tribute to John Witherspoon on social media. "My heart hurts so much right now, RIP to John Witherspoon, I appreciate our conversations and the wisdom you gave me as a young comic," said Pharoah. Public Enemy rapper Chuck D says, "It's where I first remembered The Great John Witherspoon on the screen in Robert Townsend's Hollywood Shuffle. R I P funny man," while posting a clip from the movie.
Rapper Busta Rhymes called the late actor, "King John Witherspoon aka Pop's" in his tribute. He concluded by saying, "Love you and thank you giving us so much of you." In addition to starring roles on the big and small screen, John Witherspoon also had a pretty good stint starring in music videos, including Jay Z's "I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)." The world lost one of the best comedians in the business, but he was a friend, mentor, and family member to so many more. Rest in Peace. You can read a collection of tributes below, starting with one from the John Witherspoon Twitter account by 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.— John Witherspoon (@John_POPS_Spoon) October 30, 2019
- The Witherspoon Family pic.twitter.com/ov9P34kaMn
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
God bless John Witherspoon. The definition of an icon. Wow. pic.twitter.com/2wUBXglzSW— Chance The Rapper (@chancetherapper) October 30, 2019
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
I’m so sad, I loved pops!! RIP to one of the greats will miss you John Witherspoon damn I’m sad pic.twitter.com/TaYWU4mSN4— Leslie Jones 🦋 (@Lesdoggg) October 30, 2019
RIP my brother. You will be missed. Mannnnnnn this is a hard one. 🙏🏾John Witherspoon, Beloved 'Friday' and 'The Wayans Bros.' Star, Dead at 77 | Entertainment Tonight https://t.co/iUzyjCI4U1— David Alan Grier (@davidalangrier) October 30, 2019
I'm so sorry to hear this.— Marsha Warfield (@MarshaWarfield) October 30, 2019
To me, Spoon was a friend, a brother, a funny, talented comedian and a good man.
He was the first comedian I met when I got to Los Angeles, and he never... https://t.co/aZ3im7HGwr
He then shook my hand & tipped me $100 for driving him 7 mins up the street. To this day, some of the best advice I ever received. You for sure loved the job. And for sure did the work & you were never a motherfcker— Roy Wood Jr- Ex Jedi (@roywoodjr) October 30, 2019
Rest well good sir. Condolences to entire #JohnWitherspoon fam
Pure funny. Hilarious and always kind. John Witherspoon will be missed. https://t.co/sctMZc2O0k— Judd Apatow (@JuddApatow) 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
I’m absolutely shattered at the news of my great friend John Witherspoon passing. May love surround his entire family and fan base - a comedy legend we’ll never forget. 🙏💜 pic.twitter.com/PqO0nysZTj— Jackée Harry (@JackeeHarry) October 30, 2019
John Witherspoon, Beloved 'Friday' and 'The Waynes Bros.' Star, Dead at 77 | Entertainment Tonight. “When they say OG and inspiration... that’s Johnny Witherspoon. One of my early heroes and a beautiful person. My prayers are with the family! Love you! https://t.co/CRhz4wIcLQ— Sinbad (@sinbadbad) October 30, 2019
This one cuts. Rest well King John Witherspoon aka Pop’s. Love you and thank you giving us so much of you. https://t.co/jRT8YznMm8— Busta Rhymes (@BustaRhymes) October 30, 2019
My heart hurts so much right now, RIP to John Witherspoon,I appreciate our conversations and the wisdom you gave me as a young comic, we lost a real one today and It'd be remiss to not say he was and is irreplaceable and a invaluable icon in the comedic community sleep easy man😥 pic.twitter.com/whOsWNq3t0— Jay Pharoah (@JayPharoah) October 30, 2019