eddie murphy & john witherspoon

Eddie Murphy and John Witherspoon in 'A Thousand Words'

*John Witherspoon is a staple in Ice Cube’s “Friday” films and the only one—other than Cube himself—who has appeared in all three. He says another “Friday” is about to go into production.

On Friday, no pun intended, Witherspoon can be seen in “A Thousand Words” and tells The Film Strip in a phone interview that he had second thoughts about his one scene.

“They asked me if I wanted a stunt double and I told them, ‘No, it can’t be all that bad,” he recalled. “But once we started shooting and those cars started coming at me, I said, ‘what did I get myself into?”

You have some music heavy hitters in your family. Your brother William is a songwriter and producer (“What Becomes of the Brokenhearted”) and your cousins are Lamont Dozier and Reggie Dozier. So what became of your musical talents?

Actually I’m a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none. I can play the trumpet, I do comedy and on the road a lot, and I do voiceovers. When I was 50-years-pold I decided to play the piano and got a piano teacher and now I can play some songs.

I’m typecast but I’m doing well. I grew up in a family with 11 kids so I was real broke as a kid. I’m doing fine. I’m smart with my money and I don’t shoot drugs and things like that. So I’m doing fine. I’ve just always been aggressive.

I hear David Letterman is the godfather of one of your kids?

David Letterman is one of my best friends. I been knowing him for 37 years. He was the best man at my wedding, him and Tim Reid.

How have you stayed grounded all these years? 

First of all you can’t take all these drugs and like yourself. You know, it ain’t all that serious! Another thing is I was broke. I’m cheap and I save my money. Maybe all those other people weren’t as broke as me. So I certainly can’t see buying any cocaine and then sniff it up my nose. I get me a glass of wine and count my money. My wife’s family is realtors and I bought some properties. And you won’t see me spending $200,000 or $300,000 on a car. I sleep well, go to the gym and don’t splurge with my money. And, my kids aren’t in any gangs.