By Robert Waldman ,The Afro News Vancouver
Certain actors age like a fine wine. That comparison suits dapper funnyman John Witherspoon. While Detroit fades this Michigan native continues to resonate with audiences looking for that little extra quality and good time when taking in a flick or for that matter turning on the television set as this dynamo made considerable inroads on the boob tube way back when.
Tall at 5’10” this strapping lad once had a career as a fashion model. Lucky for us he got inspired by the acting bug and has been entertaining audiences ever since. Diverse is John’s nature as his talents have seen him play pimps, lawmen and just about everything in between. And talk about a roster of vintage hits. Why on television alone he appeared in such classic series as Barnaby Jones, The Richard Pryor Show, Good Times, The Incredible Hulk, WKRP in Cincinnati and Hill Street Blues. Why he was even considered for a prime role on NYPD Blue namely Lt. Arthur Fancy This diversity shows John’s ability to easily shift from comedy to drama with a little romance thrown in for good measure.
Guest appearances have abounded for this talented heavyweight and a nice rapport with no less than David Letterman earned him a godfather designation for his son. Deep roots of John’s family into the music world see a connection with famed songwriter William Witherspoon, a Motown hit maker with such tunes as What Becomes of the Broken Hearted.
Modern Hollywood filmmakers have also latched onto John Witherspoon. Adam Sandler cast the big guy in Littly Nicky while those crazy Wayans Brothers brought him more laughs in the Vancouver shot Little Man. Music has played a big role in our magical man’s life as evidenced by appearances opposite Neil Diamond in the Sir Lawrence Olivier driven The Jazz Singer and in Clint Eastwood’s highly acclaimed Bird. Modern film fans best know this fountain of youth through a three picture gig in the uproarious Friday movies with Ice Cube.
So whether you are into laughs, romance or high voltage drama John Witherspoon always makes his presence felt. And we’re all better off from that little treat.
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