‘Friday’ actor-comedian John Witherspoon dies at 77

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John Witherspoon

FILE – In this Dec. 21, 2009, file photo, John Witherspoon leaves a taping of “The Late Show with David Letterman” in New York. Actor-comedian Witherspoon, who memorably played Ice Cube’s father in the “Friday” films, has died at age 77. Witherspoon’s manager Alex Goodman confirmed late Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019, that Witherspoon died in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Actor-comedian John Witherspoon, who memorably played Ice Cube’s father in the “Friday” films, has died. He was 77.

Witherspoon’s family issued a statement to the website Deadline saying that Witherspoon died Tuesday in Los Angeles. No cause of death was released.

The actor had a prolific career, co-starring in three “Friday” films, appearing on “The Wayans Bros.” television series and voicing the grandfather in “The Boondocks” animated series. His film roles included “Vampire in Brooklyn” and “Boomerang,” and he was a frequent guest on “Late Show with David Letterman.”

For many, his most recognizable role was “Pops,” Ice Cube’s father in the stoner comedy “Friday” and its two sequels, a crude but affectionate father trying to guide his son to be better.

“Life won’t be as funny without him,” Ice Cube said in a Twitter post late Tuesday, adding that he was devastated by news of Witherspoon’s death.

Regina King, who appeared as Witherspoon’s daughter in “Friday” and also voiced both of his grandsons in the animated series “The Boondocks” called him her “comedic inspiration” on Twitter.

The family’s statement expressed shock at Witherspoon’s death. It said Witherspoon is survived by his wife, Angela, and sons JD and Alexander.

JD Witherspoon tweeted that he was happy for all the great times he and his dad 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,” JD Witherspoon posted. “Love U Dad…I’ll miss u.”

The actor-comedian was born Jan. 27, 1942.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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