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.