Actor and comedian John Witherspoon was laid to rest at a funeral service in California on Tuesday morning. The celebration of the 77-year-old’s life was attended by many of his celebrity friends. Cedric the Entertainer, David Letterman, George Wallace, Chris Tucker, Ice Cube and Bill Bellamy were all in attendance, and several of them spoke at the service.
Letterman was a very close friend of Witherspoon’s and is the godfather to the late actor’s son, J.D. The former Late Night host spoke first at the ceremony. "I've known John for 45 years. Forty-five years. He and I met at a – I think it was a Scientology mixer – years and years ago," he joked according to USA Today.
Witherspoon died suddenly at his home last Tuesday. No cause of death was made public.
"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."
There was an outpouring of love and support from his friends online following the news of his passing.
Let me tell you something, this man was a genius!! Like bend over in your chair hollering with laughter funny. All comics could learn from John Witherspoon!! RIP!! pic.twitter.com/jTBy1p1SQr— Leslie Jones 🦋 (@Lesdoggg) October 31, 2019
The world has lost a true comedy legend and all around genuine soul, who paved the way for so many of us to be able to do what we love. My deepest condolences to John’s family. I know he’s already up there makin everyone laugh 🙏🏾 #rip #comedy #legend #JohnWitherspoon pic.twitter.com/mKzXUGK8Uw— Martin Lawrence (@realmartymar) October 30, 2019
RIP my brother. You will be missed. Mannnnnnn this is a hard one. 🙏🏾John Witherspoon, Beloved 'Friday' and 'The Wayans Bros.' Star, Dead at 77 | Entertainment Tonight https://t.co/iUzyjCI4U1— David Alan Grier (@davidalangrier) October 30, 2019
Witherspoon was a prolific actor who enjoyed a long career in show business. He was best known as playing Pops in the Friday film franchise and as Gramps in The Boondocks.