Movies & TV / News

Friday Actor John Witherspoon Passes Away

October 31, 2019 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
John Witherspoon

Comedian John Witherspoon, best known for playing Willie Jones in the Friday franchise, has passed away. Variety reports that the actor’s family announed that he died on Tuesday at the age of 77. The family posted to Twitter:

Witherspoon was born in Detroit as John Weatherspoon, one of eleven children. He got into acting in the 1970s and had his first on-screen role in The Richard Pryor Show in 1977, as well as episodes of The Incredible Hulk, What’s Happening!!, Good Times, and Barnaby Jones. He would go on to have a lengthy and successful film and TV career with roles in such films as the blaxploitation parody I’m Gonna Get You Sucka in 1988 and House Party in 1990. He often collaborated with Eddie Murphy, appearing in Boomerang, Vampire in Brooklyn, and Dr. Doolittle 2.

It was his role as Willie Jones, the father of Craig (Ice Cube) in Friday, that earned him the most recognition. He would go on to reprise the role in both Next Friday and Friday After Next. The 2000s saw him voice Granddad in The Bookdocks and work with the Wayans Brothers on Soul Plane and Little Man. Most recently, he had a voice role in Adult Swim comedy Black Jesus, whose third season premiered in September.

On behalf of 411, our condolences to the family, friends and fans of Mr. Witherspoon.