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'Life Won't Be as Funny Without Him'

'Friday' actor-comedian John Witherspoon dead at 77
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 30, 2019 6:02 AM CDT
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In this Dec. 21, 2009, file photo, John Witherspoon leaves a taping of "The Late Show with David Letterman" in New York.   (AP Photo/Charles Sykes, File)
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(Newser) – Actor-comedian John Witherspoon, who memorably played Ice Cube's father in the Friday films, has died. He was 77. Witherspoon's manager Alex Goodman confirmed late Tuesday that Witherspoon died 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 the 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, reports the AP.

"Life won't be as funny without him," a "devastated" 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, called him her "comedic inspiration" on Twitter. Goodman referred to a family statement issued to Deadline that said the family is "all in shock" over Witherspoon's death. "John used to say 'I'm no big deal', but he was huge deal to us," it continued. Witherspoon is survived by his wife, Angela, and sons JD and Alexander. JD Witherspoon tweeted: "We'd roast each other like homies more than Father & Son, and I really liked that. He was my best friend & my idol." "Love U Dad...I'll miss u."

(Read more obituary stories.)

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