John Witherspoon

Actor

27/01/1942 (79 years old) Detroit, Michigan

Funnyman John Witherspoon has parlayed a successful career as a standup comic into a series of memorable film roles. Born in Detroit, MI, Witherspoon began his show business career as a model in the early '70s before striking out on his own as a comedian. His first big break came in 1977 when he landed a regular spot on Richard Pryor's short-lived television variety series, and he began playing supporting roles on such shows as What's Happening!, Good Times, and WKRP in Cincinnati. In 1980, Witherspoon made his film debut playing a nightclub MC in Neil Diamond's 1980 remake of The Jazz Singer. Witherspoon's big-screen breakthrough, however, came in Robert Townsend's comedy Hollywood Shuffle, in which Witherspoon played Mr. Jones, the manager of the Winky Dinky Dog hot-dog stand. The surprise success of Hollywood Shuffle led to a string of film parts and recurring roles on two television series -- the short-lived Townsend Television in 1993 and 1995's The Wayans Bros., which ran for four years, with Witherspoon playing "Pop" Williams. In 1995, Witherspoon also played ill-tempered dogcatcher Mr. Jones in Ice Cube's urban comedy Friday. John Witherspoon still tours as a standup comic when he's not busy with film and television work. Witherspoon played a recurring part on the sitcom The Wayans Brothers, and appeared in small roles in a variety of films including I Got the Hook Up, The Ladies Man, and Fakin' Da Funk. In addition to appearing in multiple sequels to Friday, Witherspoon teamed up with old colleagues when he played a part for the Wayans brothers in Little Man. Witherspoon also brought his caustic sensibility to his voice work on the animated television adaptation of the controversial comic strip The Boondocks.

Filmography Facts
  • One of 11 siblings.
  • Elder brother, William, became a songwriter in for Motown.
  • Has a passion for music and plays the trumpet and French horn.