Richard Pryor : biography
Richard Franklin Lennox Thomas Pryor (December 1, 1940December 10, 2005) was an American stand-up comedian, actor, social critic, writer, and MC. YouTube
Pryor was known for uncompromising examinations of racism and topical contemporary issues, which employed colorful vulgarities, and profanity, as well as racial epithets. He reached a broad audience with his trenchant observations and storytelling style. He is widely regarded as one of the most important and influential stand-up comedians of all time: Jerry Seinfeld called Pryor "The Picasso of our profession";Morton, Bruce (December 28, 2005). . CNN. Retrieved January 11, 2010. Bob Newhart has called Pryor "the seminal comedian of the last 50 years." PBS This legacy can be attributed, in part, to the unusual degree of intimacy Pryor brought to bear on his comedy. As Bill Cosby reportedly once said, "Richard Pryor drew the line between comedy and tragedy as thin as one could possibly paint it."
His body of work includes the concert movies and recordings Richard Pryor: Live & Smokin’ (1971), That Nigger’s Crazy (1974), …Is It Something I Said? (1975), Bicentennial Nigger (1976), Richard Pryor: Live in Concert (1979), Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip (1982), and Richard Pryor: Here and Now (1983). He also starred in numerous films as an actor, such as Superman III (1983) but was usually in comedies such as Silver Streak (1976), and occasionally in dramatic roles, such as Paul Schrader’s film Blue Collar (1978). He collaborated on many projects with actor Gene Wilder. Another frequent collaborator was actor/comedian/writer Paul Mooney.
Pryor won an Emmy Award (1973), and five Grammy Awards (1974, 1975, 1976, 1981, and 1982). In 1974, he also won two American Academy of Humor awards and the Writers Guild of America Award. The first ever Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor was presented to him in 1998. Pryor is listed at Number 1 on Comedy Central’s list of all-time greatest stand-up comedians.
Born in Peoria, Illinois, Pryor grew up in his grandmother’s brothel, where his mother, Gertrude L. (Thomas), practiced prostitution . His father, LeRoy "Buck Carter" Pryor (June 7, 1915 – September 27, 1968) was a former boxer and hustler.http://richardpryor.com/biography.php Richard Pryor’s official biography After his mother abandoned him when he was 10, he was raised primarily by his grandmother Marie Carter, a violent woman who would beat him for any of his eccentricities. Pryor was one of four children raised in his grandmother’s brothel and was molested as a child.Jones, Steve. USA Today. December 10, 2005 He was expelled from school at the age of 14. His first professional performance was playing drums at a night club. Pryor served in the U.S. Army from 1958 to 1960, but spent virtually the entire stint in an army prison. According to a 1999 profile about Pryor in The New Yorker, Pryor was incarcerated for an incident that occurred while stationed in Germany. Angered that a white soldier was a bit too amused at the racially charged sections of Douglas Sirk’s movie Imitation of Life, Pryor and some other black soldiers beat and stabbed him, though not fatally.Als, Hilton (September 13, 1999). "A Pryor Love". The New Yorker.
During this time, Pryor’s girlfriend gave birth to a girl named Renee. Years later, however, he found out that she was not his child. In 1960, he married Patricia Price and they had one child together, Richard Jr. (his first child and first son). They divorced in 1961.
Pryor suffered a mild heart attack in November 1977. He was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1986. In 1990, Pryor suffered a second and more severe heart attack and underwent triple heart bypass surgery. By the early 1990s, he was confined to using a wheelchair as well as a motor powered scooter for the remainder of his life to get around when his multiple sclerosis began to take its toll on his body.