John Witherspoon is dead at 77, reports Deadline. The iconic actor and comedian, who may be best known for his role as Mr. Jones in the Friday series, Robert Freeman (granddad) on The Boondocks and Pops on The Wayans Bros, died suddenly in his home.

The Witherspoon family released this 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.”

Witherspoon was born on January 27, 1942, in Detroit, Michigan. He began his career as a stand-up comedian and actor in the late 1970s on The Richard Pryor Show. He made lasting impressions with early film roles in Robert Townsend’s Hollywood Shuffle, the Wayans’ I’m Gonna Git You SuckaHouse Party and The Five Heartbeats. 

Most recently, he appeared on the latest season of Netflix’s BoJack Horseman and Adult Swim’s Black Jesus. His last listed project was to appear in the final Friday movie, Last Friday, which was in pre-production this year.

Rest in peace to an icon in Black Hollywood. Our thoughts are with his family and all who were touched by his presence.


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