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Richard Pryor

Richard PryorAKA Richard Franklin Lennox Thomas Pryor III

Born: 1-Dec-1940
Birthplace: Peoria, IL
Died: 10-Dec-2005
Location of death: San Fernando Valley, CA
Cause of death: Heart Failure
Remains: Cremated

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: Black
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Comic, Actor

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Stand-up comic, Stir Crazy

Military service: US Army (1958-60)

As a boy, Richard Pryor says he watched his mother have sex with the mayor for money. His parents married when Pryor was three, but he was mostly raised by his grandmother, who, Pryor says, ran a whorehouse and beat him as punishment for random transgressions.

His career in comedy started with a truce with a high school teacher: Pryor agreed to stop cracking jokes in class, and the teacher agreed to let Pryor perform comedy for the class once a week. He also performed at the local rec center. His first professional gigs were clean and polite, earning critical comparisons to Bill Cosby. Pryor was successful but found it frustrating, and quit comedy for two years. When he came back, profane and political, he was no longer compared to Cosby.

Pryor's new act was filled with painfully accurate commentary on black-white inequities, hilarity with hostility. He landed a modest recording contract, but the record company's executives were startled when his album sold to white customers as well as black.

Pryor was one of the writers of Blazing Saddles (1974), and was originally announced to play the sheriff, but lost the part due to his already well-known drug problems. He did do some fine film work, including Wild in the Streets with Shelley Winters, Uptown Saturday Night with Sidney Poitier and Cosby, Car Wash with George Carlin and Bill Duke, Blue Collar with Harvey Keitel, and several amusing comedies with Gene Wilder.

For many years Pryor had a large cocaine habit. He had at least three heart attacks, once set himself on fire while freebasing cocaine -- a suicide attempt, Pryor has sometimes stated. Until his death, Pryor suffered from advanced multiple sclerosis and was largely confined to a wheelchair. On the night of 9 December 2005, he died from cardiac arrest at his home in the San Fernando Valley.

Father: LeRoy Pryor ("Buck", pimp)
Mother: Gertrude Thomas Pryor (prostitute)
Wife: Patricia Price Pryor (m. 1960, div.)
Wife: Shelly Bonus Pryor (m. 1968, div.)
Wife: Deborah McGuire Pryor (m. 1977, div. 1978)
Wife: Jennifer Lee Pryor (m. 1981, div. 1982, m. again 2001)
Wife: Flynn BeLaine Pryor (m. 1986, div. 1987, m. again 1990, separated)
Daughter: Renee (b. 1957)
Son: Richard Jr. (b. 1961)
Daughter: Elizabeth (b. 1967)
Daughter: Rain (b. 1969)
Son: Steven (b. 1984)
Daughter: Kelsey (b. 1987)
Girlfriend: Geraldine Mason (actress, one son)
Son: Franklin (b. 1987, with Mason)
Girlfriend: Pam Grier (actress, ex-)

    High School: Peoria High School, Peoria, IL (expelled)

    Emmy 1974 for Lily (comedy writing, shared)
    Hollywood Walk of Fame 6440 Hollywood Blvd. (motion pictures)
    Expelled from School
    Betty Ford Center 1990
    Assault 1-Jan-1978
    Assault and Battery Pittsburgh, PA
    Battery according to lawsuit filed by ex-wife
    Tax Evasion 1974
    Inmate: Los Angeles County Jail 1974
    Heart Attack 1978
    Heart Attack 1990
    Suicide Attempt Northridge, CA 9-Jun-1980
    Caught Fire Northridge, CA 9-Jun-1980
    Risk Factors: Multiple Sclerosis, Cocaine, Depression

    The Flip Wilson Show Regular (1970-74)

    Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling (2-May-1986)
    Richard Pryor Here and Now (28-Oct-1983)

    Lost Highway (21-Feb-1997)
    Mad Dog Time (8-Nov-1996)
    Another You (26-Jul-1991)
    Harlem Nights (17-Nov-1989) · Sugar Ray
    See No Evil, Hear No Evil (12-May-1989) · Wally
    Moving (4-Mar-1988) · Arlo Pear
    Critical Condition (16-Jan-1987)
    Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling (2-May-1986)
    Brewster's Millions (22-May-1985) · Montgomery Brewster
    Richard Pryor Here and Now (28-Oct-1983) · Himself
    Superman III (17-Jun-1983) · Gus Gorman
    The Toy (10-Dec-1982) · Jack Brown
    Some Kind of Hero (2-Apr-1982)
    Richard Pryor Live on the Sunset Strip (12-Mar-1982) · Himself
    Bustin' Loose (27-May-1981) · Joe Braxton
    Stir Crazy (12-Dec-1980) · Harry Monroe
    In God We Trust (26-Sep-1980)
    Wholly Moses! (13-Jun-1980)
    The Muppet Movie (22-Jun-1979)
    Richard Pryor: Live in Concert (Jan-1979) · Himself
    California Suite (15-Dec-1978) · Dr. Chauncey Gump
    The Wiz (24-Oct-1978)
    Blue Collar (10-Feb-1978) · Zeke
    Greased Lightning (Jul-1977) · Wendell Scott
    Which Way Is Up? (1977) · Rev. Lenox Thomas
    Silver Streak (3-Dec-1976) · Grover
    The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings (17-Nov-1976)
    Car Wash (22-Oct-1976) · Daddy Rich
    Adios Amigo (Jan-1976)
    Uptown Saturday Night (26-Jul-1974)
    Some Call It Loving (16-Nov-1973)
    Hit! (18-Sep-1973)
    The Mack (4-Apr-1973)
    Wattstax (4-Feb-1973) · Himself
    Lady Sings the Blues (12-Oct-1972)
    You've Got to Walk It Like You Talk It or You'll Lose That Beat (19-Sep-1971)
    Dynamite Chicken (20-Jan-1971) · Himself
    The Phynx (6-May-1970) · Himself
    Wild in the Streets (29-May-1968) · Stanley X
    The Busy Body (12-Mar-1967)

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