RIP John Witherspoon — Comedian, Actor And Legend Dies At 77

His co-stars remember him fondly.

How Did John Witherspoon Die? Comedian, Actor And Legend Passes Away At 77 instagram

As the years go by, the acting legends of Hollywood are slowly disappearing. This year alone, we’ve lost Luke Perry, Rip Taylor, Valerie Harper, Gloria Vanderbuilt, Doris Day, Peggy Lipton, as well as many talented individuals. But a recent death in the Hills is both heartbreaking and nostalgic. 

How did John Witherspoon die? On October 29, Witherspoon passed away at home, though the cause is still unknown. He was 77 years old. The actor and comedian appeared on our screens over the decades, delivering endless laughs and feel-good moments.


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Witherspoon started out as a stand-up comedian, but landed television roles in the 1970s. He’s perhaps best well known for his role as Willie Jones in the Friday franchise, as well as television shows like The Wayans Bros., The Tracy Morgan Show, The Boondocks, Black Jesus, and movies like Hollywood Shuffle, Vampire in Brooklyn, and Boomerang.



A post shared by John "POPS" Witherspoon (@johnnywitherspoon) on Apr 4, 2019 at 8:36pm PDT

Witherspoon is survived by his wife of 42 years, Angela, as well as his two sons, JD and Alexander. Angela is also an actress, appearing on My Crazy-Ex Girlfriend, Criminal Minds, and Joan of Arcadia. JD, is also a stand-up comedian and actor, and even had a voice role on The Boondocks.

His family later released a statement on Twitter, remembering the actor:

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They also released a statement to Deadline:

“It is with deepest sorrow that we can confirm our beloved husband and father, John Witherspoon, one of the hardest working men in show business, died today at his home in Sherman Oaks at the age of 77. He is survived by his wife Angela, and his sons JD, Alexander, and a large family. We are all in shock, please give us a minute for a moment in privacy and we will celebrate his life and his work together. John used to say ‘I’m no big deal’, but he was a huge deal to us.”

Upon learning of his death, an outpouring of memories, grief, and condolences flooded Twitter and Instagram. Comedians like Craig Robinson, Martin Lawrence, Jamie Foxx, Cedric the Entertainer, David Alan Grier, Questlove, Judd Apatow, Sinbad, Marlon Wayans, and Jay Pharoah took to social media, as well as actors and his former co-stars.

His son, JD, also made a touching tribute to his late father:


Despite Witherspoon’s age, at the time of his death he had multiple projects in the air.

He recently appeared on the Joe Rogan Experience and revealed it was possible he would return to the reboot of The Boondocks. He also never stopped performing stand-up, and had three upcoming shows in December. In addition, he just finished filming for the fourth installment of the Friday franchise, and the movie Bring Me the Head of Lance Henriksen.


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Samantha Maffucci is an editor for YourTango who focuses on writing trending news and entertainment pieces. In her free time, you can find her obsessing about cats, wine, and all things Vanderpump Rules.