9th Annual Memorial Weekend Comedy Festival

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Actor John Witherspoon, who was best known for his roles in “Friday” & “The Wayans Brothers,” has passed away, Deadline reports.

His family released this statement about his death to the outlet:

“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 huge deal to us.”

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The comedian, who was a Detroit native, began his career in stand-up comedy before transitioning into acting in the late 70s. His first screen role was in The Jazz Singer, but he would become best knowns for his humorous roles in popular black films such as Boomerang, The Ladies Man, and Friday. Witherspoon shined as Ice Cube’s dad in the film franchise and appeared in the sequels Next Friday and Friday After Next. Witherspoon was slated to appear in the upcoming final installment of the series, Last Friday. 

He also voiced Gramps in Aaron McGruder’s iconic animated series, The Boondocks, and he was “Pops” on the hit TV series, The Wayans Bros. He was recently featured on Chance’s The Rapper’s latest project. He was known for his cameos in popular hip hop videos including Jay Z and Pharrell’s “I Just Wanna Love You,” and Field Mob’s “Sick Of Being Lonely.” Through it all, Witherspoon never abandoned his stand up roots. He was slated to appear in upcoming shows at the time of his death.

Our condolences to his loved ones and those affected by his passing.

Fans, colleagues  and friends took to Twitter to mourn his death.

 

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