Actor and comedian John Witherspoon, best known for his roles in “The Wayans Bros.” and the “Friday” film franchise, died Tuesday at his Los Angeles home, according to a family spokesperson. He was 77.
“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,” his family said in a statement.
Witherspoon is survived by his wife, two sons and “a large family,” the statement said.
“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,” the family said. “John used to say, ‘I’m no big deal,’ but he was huge deal to us.”
The family added in a tweet that Witherspoon “was a Legend in the entertainment industry, and a father figure to all who watched him over the years.”
Witherspoon, a native of Detroit kicked off his career as a stand-up comedian and made his television debut in the 1970s, appearing in shows including the detective series “Barnaby Jones.”
He went on to appear in more than 30 films, including “Hollywood Shuffle,” “The Five Heartbeats,” “Boomerang” and “Vampire In Brooklyn.”
His most prominent role was as Ice Cube’s cantankerous dad in the trio of “Friday” films.