Ice Cube paid tribute to late actor-comedian John Witherspoon earlier this week while celebrating the 20th anniversary of his film, Next Friday.
The film, released in 2000 was the most successful film in the Friday franchise at the box office. Earning nearly $60 million worldwide, the film followed Cube’s Craig after he won the fight with Deebo, who was put in jail. But with rumors that Deebo (Tom Lister Jr.) was getting out of jail soon, Craig goes to live with his uncle and cousin, Day-Day, played by a then nearly unknown Mike Epps. The film also starred Clifton Powell, Kym Whitley and Tamala Jones.
On Tuesday, Ice Cube tweeted, “20 years since Next Friday. Miss you Pops.”
Witherspoon, who passed away in October at the age of 77, played the father of Cube’s character Craig in the Friday franchise, which consisted of Friday, Next Friday, and Friday After Next. A fourth film, Last Friday, had reportedly been in the works prior to Witherspoon’s passing. He was rumored to be reprising his role.
Cube, whose birth name is O’Shea Jackson, gave an emotional eulogy at Witherspoon’s funeral during which he explained why the actor meant so much to him, and why he wanted the actor to portray his father in his film franchise.
“The reason I wanted him to play my father is because he reminds me of my real father, but my real father isn’t as funny,” he said, according to video. “He reminded me of my real father and I knew if we got John Witherspoon—this is before we decided to get Chris Tucker—we knew…the movie would be funny no matter who else we got in it.”
Witherspoon’s career spanned decades with roles in projects such as The Boondocks, The Wayan Bros., and Boomerang.