A Black Hollywood icon, John Witherspoon, suddenly passed away in his home at the age of 77.

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“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,” Witherspoon’s family said in a statement to Deadline. “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.”

The Detroit native started his career as a stand-up comedian. In the 1970’s he landed his debut TV role in The Jazz Singer. He also appeared in a couple of films like Hollywood Shuffle, Boomerang, Vampire in Brooklyn, The Ladies Man and Fakin’ Da Funk.


But he’s best known for his role as Craig’s father in the Friday franchise. He also played Pops in The Wayans Bros. and voiced Grandpa Freeman in the Boondocks series, which was scheduled to be rebooted.

John Witherspoon still did comedy up until his death and had upcoming dates scheduled.

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