John Wesley, a long-time actor likely best known for his role on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, died Saturday after a long battle with multiple myeloma.
He was 72 years old.
Gerry Pass, Wesley’s manager and producer, confirmed this unfortunate news in a statement that read:
John Wesley was a gift to the world, for his kindness and grace are immortalized in his works of theatre, TV and film.
I am heartbroken to have lost a dear friend today.
A veteran of the Vietnam War and a graduate of UCSD with a MFA degree, Wesley had over 100 roles in film and television on his resume… including an episode of the aforementioned sitcom where he played the father of a girl that bullied Will’s cousin, Ashley.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, of course, is the show on which Will Smith for his giant break.
Wesley may be a familiar face to almost anyone who has watched television over the past couple decades, however.
He also played Mr. Jim, the barber shop owner on Martin and the all-knowing janitor Willie on The Jamie Foxx Show.
The actor’s dramatic TV guest roles included appearances on JAG, Hill Street Blues and In the Heat of the Night.
Over the course of a very impressive career, Wesley worked with talens such as Denzel Washington, Albert Finney, Barbra Streisand, Tim Burton and Morgan Freeman.
Here is a blurry photo of him acting alongside Smith:
In the wake of Wesley’s passing, numerous stars, fans and organizations have taken to social media in order to pay tribute to the late actor.
"We are honored to have had John Wesley at our festival. Farewell dear man. Journey well. We send our love with you. Thank you, John," the Hollywood Women’s Film Festival organization wrote, for example.
"We send our love to John’s family and to our beloved Michael Learned, our friend Producer Gerry Pass and the entire cast and crew," the group added.
A Facebook commenter also came across the news and wrote:
"I actually cried reading the article only [because] his work was so moving and level of shows and tv is astonishing to say the least. Rest easy former army veteran may you find peace."
Wesley is survived by his wife, Jenny Houston; his mother, Hazel Baskin; his daughters, Kimiko Kamiel Houston and Kinshasha Houston; stepson, Kyler Richie; nine siblings and seven grandchildren.
May he rest in peace.