Celebrities Respond to Comedian John Witherspoon’s Death

John Witherspoon, legendary stand-up comic and actor, died at age 77 this week. Witherspoon appeared in the films BoomerangVampire in BrooklynDr. Doolittle 2Little Man, and most notably, all the three Friday films. He also voiced Robert “Grandad” Freeman in The Boondocks animated series. Many lovingly referred to John Witherspoon as Pops, in reference to his iconic, wise-cracking character on The Wayans Bros. series.

John Witherspoon
John Witherspoon | Steve Grayson/WireImage

Celebrities and fans alike took to Twitter and Instagram to express their sadness over his death, as well as honor the talented comedian’s life and work.

Witherspoon’s cause of death is unclear 

The great comedian was born in Detroit in 1942. After achieving success in stand-up comedy, he broke into television in the 1970s and made his movie debut The Jazz Singer in 1980.

John Witherspoon was confirmed dead on Wednesday morning, but his cause of death has not been released yet. The family tweeted the news out via Witherspoon’s Twitter account.

John Witherspoon
John Witherspoon with his family | Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images

It is with deep sadness we have to tweet this, but our husband & father John Witherspoon has passed away,” they tweeted. “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 son J.D. tweeted a sobering reminder to those of us lucky enough to have our loved ones still with us: “remember time waits for NO ONE, so if you have a loved one or someone you care about dearly let them know ASAP!” J.D. Witherspoon expressed some regret at not doing that enough for his father.

“I wish I would’ve called my dad today. Or stopped by his house to say hi one last time,” he wrote. “I’ll miss you, dad, love you.”

Celebrities share their favorite John Witherspoon quotes and movie moments 

“Oh my goodness. What a devastating loss,” actress Kerry Washington tweeted. “I love John so dearly and will truly cherish our hilarious time together on Little Man,” in reference to the movie they both appeared in.

Ice Cube, the rapper who worked with John Witherspoon on the Friday films, said he was “devastated” by the news. “Life won’t be as funny without him,” Ice Cube wrote.

Chance the Rapper wrote about the actor: “God bless John Witherspoon. The definition of an icon.” He included a clip of one of the actor’s most famous quotes from the movie Friday.

Stand-up comedian and former SNL impersonator Jay Pharoah wrote on Twitter, “My heart hurts so much right now.” Pharoah said John Witherspoon gave him “wisdom” when he was an up-and-coming comic. Jay Pharoah called Witherspoon “irreplaceable and an invaluable icon in the comedic community.”

Stand-up comedian and film director Judd Apatow said not only was the man funny, but he was also “always kind.” Witherspoon, he tweeted, “will be missed.”

Clearly, the man, his talents, his kindness, and his love of humor were not taken for granted.


The ‘Boondocks’ voice actor leaves behind wife and sons

John Witherspoon is survived by his wife Angela, and two sons, J.D. and Alexander. J.D. Witherspoon followed in his father’s footsteps and is a stand-up comedian himself.

J.D. tweeted in response to the outpouring of love or John Witherspoon: “Just wanted to say thank you to everyone reaching out to me and my family tonight. I’ve received your messages and appreciate every single one of them.”

J.D. posted a touching video on YouTube Wednesday morning in honor of the recently deceased comedian, titled, “Goodbye Dad.”

May John Witherspoon rest in peace, and may we always live by his words as Mr. Jones in the film Friday: “You win some, you lose some, but you live. You live to fight another day.”

If you need us, we’ll just be here putting hot sauce on our burritos and crying.