‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ actor John Wesley has died at 72 after cancer battle

Cydney Henderson/USA TODAY

John Wesley, best known for playing Dr. Hoover on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” has died from cancer. He was 72.

The actor’s manager and producer, Gerry Pass, confirmed to USA TODAY that Wesley died at Cedars-Sinai Hospital Sunday following complications from a long battle with multiple myeloma, a type of cancer that forms in plasma cells.

“John Wesley was a gift to the world, for his kindness and grace are immortalized in his works of theatre, TV and film,” Pass said in the statement Monday. “I am heartbroken to have lost a dear friend today.”

Wesley had more than 100 acting credits to his name, working alongside stars like Denzel Washington, Barbra Streisand, Tim Burton and Morgan Freeman. His credits include the TV series “Martin” and “Dirty Dancing,” and films “Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot” and “Hang Em High.”

But Wesley is most recognized for his role on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” as Dr. Hoover, the father of a student who was bullying Ashley Banks (Tatyana Ali). During the 1991 episode, Dr. Hoover eventually came to blows with Phillip Banks (James Avery) over a Yo Momma joke.

Wesley’s other credits include “Missing in Action,” “Always Outnumbered,” “Frasier,” “The Jeffersons,” “Benson,” and most recently, “NCIS” and the short film, “Second Acts.”

Prior to his acting career, the Louisiana native served in the Army during the Vietnam War before he was honorably discharged. He also earned degrees from the University of California, San Diego and the University of San Diego.

Wesley is survived by his wife Jenny Houston, daughters Kimiko and Kinshasha, stepson Kyler and seven grandchildren.


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Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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