John Witherspoon Remembered by Ice Cube, Arsenio Hall and More: ‘Life Won’t Be as Funny Without Him’

Regina King, Jay Pharoah and more pay tribute to the “Friday” and “Hollywood Shuffle” actor who died Tuesday

Last Updated: October 30, 2019 @ 7:20 AM

Tributes are flooding in for “Hollywood Shuffle” and “Friday” actor John Witherspoon following news of his death on Tuesday at age 77.

“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,” Witherspoon’s family said in a statement announcing his passing at his Sherman Oaks, Calif., home.

Friends, co-stars and famous fans were quick to share their fondest memories of the legendary actor and comedian, expressing sadness over the loss.

“I’m devastated over the passing of John Witherspoon,” Ice Cube wrote. “Life won’t be as funny without him.”

The actor’s son, J.D. Witherspoon tweeted his favorite photos of his father: “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.”

Actress Regina King, who co-starred with Witherspoon in “The Boondocks,” echoed that sentiment, tweeting: “My dad, my grandpa, my comedic inspiration! I love you Spoons!”

Arsenio Hall expressed his pain at losing one of his “comic brothers,” writing: “This day began with such joy.And it’s ending with this heart wrenching news of John Witherspoon’s passing. One of our comic brothers.”

Witherspoon made his television debut in 1970 on an episode of “Barnaby Jones,” and later in the decade appeared on episodes of “Good Times,” “What’s Happening!!” and “The Incredible Hulk,” as well as “The Richard Pryor Show.” Other television appearances include “WKRP in Cincinnati,” “St. Elsewhere” and “L.A. Law.”

During the 1980s, Witherspoon became closely associated with the rise in television shows created by and featuring African American performers, with appearances on “227,” “What’s Happening Now!!,” “Amen,” as well as “Living Single.” He had a major role on the 1995-1998 sitcom “The Wayans Bros.,” portraying the main characters’ father, John “Pops” Williams — a nickname that would stick with him for the rest of his life.

On movie screens, Witherspoon’s other film credits include classics like “I’m Gonna Get You Sucka,” “The Five Heartbeats,” “The Meteor Man” and “Vampire in Brooklyn,” and he most notably appeared as Willie Jones in all three “Friday” films

See the tributes below:

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