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‘A Genius’ RICHARD PRYOR: 1940-2005

Comedian Richard Pryor died of a heart attack on Saturday, just nine days after his
65th birthday. The actor, who was married seven times and fathered seven children,
fought multiple sclerosis for 20 years and suffered a heart attack at his California
home. Fans gathered on his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame yesterday to pay tribute
to the actor.

of four children raised in his grandmother’s brothel, Richard experienced rape at
the age of six (by a teenaged neighbor) and molestation by a Catholic priest during
catechism. He watched his mother perform sexual acts with Peoria’s mayor. One way
the young boy escaped from these traumatic experiences was to attend the movies. Seated
in the “black seats” at his local cinema, Pryor consumed the screen worlds of such
heroes as John Ford and Howard Hawks, stirring within a wild ambition to become a
star like them. He was expelled from school for a petty offense at age 14, and began
working as janitor at a local strip club. Work as shoe-shine and “careers” as drummer,
meat packer, truck driver, and billiard hall attendant combined to pre-ordain a perspective
of the black underclass in 1950s America that Pryor translated into honest and hilarious
routines. Several brushes with the country’s penal system gave him first-hand knowledge
of the treatment of blacks within it. Ask anyone who has followed Pryor’s comedy and
the word  authentic comes up. But, as the Grateful Dead sang, “What a long, strange
road it’s been” for the 63 years that Pryor has blessed this earth. And, as Richard
says, “I ain’t dead yet, Muther Fucka!”

More info on his amazing life at

Pryor Quotes

“I’m not addicted to cocaine… I just like the way it smells.”

“It’s been a struggle for me because I had a chance to be white and refused”

“Marriage is really tough because you have to deal with feelings… and lawyers.” 
married 8 times twice to one woman

hence :  “I believe in the institution of marriage, and I intend to keep trying
till I get it right.”

In Praise of Pryor

Pryor is an alchemist who can turn the darkest pain into the deepest comedy. [He]
doesn’t go for the jugular — he goes straight for the aorta.”
— Robin Williams

“What would life be like without Richard Pryor and Mudbone? Dull, baby, very dull.
There will never> be another Richard Pryor. He is, and always has been, the
funniest man alive.”
— Whoopi Goldberg

“Some people are born wearing an iron shoe. They’re the ones who kick doors down and
enter the places that before them have been untouched even by light. Theirs is always
a mission filled with loneliness and broken bones. Richard Pryor is one of the bravest
of them.”
— Jim Carrey

“I’ve always thought that a big laugh is a really loud noise from the soul saying,
‘Ain’t that the truth!’ Richard Pryor is the truth machine. He has taken black street
humor to its highest universal level.”

— Quincy Jones

“Pryor peels back the last layer of his battle-scarred skin to reveal the wretched
demons that make him the true King of Comedy, and the rest of us just pretenders to
the throne.”
— Denis Leary

“It is impossible to exaggerate the greatness of Richard Pryor. [He] is truly an incandescent
star, and we are lucky to bask in his glow.”
— Richard Belzer

“Richard Pryor is to comedy what Gretzky is to hockey, what Ali is to Boxing. He is
The Beatles of comedy.”

— Paul Rodriguez

is] a gifted, raging, soaring, plummeting, deeply human man with the tender boy inside
— the greatest pioneering comic artist of the last three generations.”
— Lily Tomlin

“Richard is the consumate comic/jazz artist, and no one will ever touch his genius.”
— Chevy Chase


“Richard had that thing where he could make you laugh so hard and then all
of a sudden he’d break your heart.”
— Robert Townsend


“I love Richard Pryor. He is a comic genious and a great human being. As he’s explored
the depths and heights, he’s found a laugh around every corner.”
— David Lynch

“Richard Pryor is truly one of the great artists of our time. His comic genius and
influence remain unparalleled.”
— Eddie Murphy

“Richard was our King Solomon. He truly created the kingdom of Niggerdom.
— Mitzi Shore, owner of the Comedy Store

“There are some people who impact your life forever. Richard Pryor is such a person.
It is undefining to call him a comedian, for he seemed to transcend comedy when he
spoke to us.”
— Morgan Freeman

“You are my friend, my pal, my domino partner, and the funniest motherfucker in the

— Willie Nelson

“At one moment you want to rescue him and save him and the next moment you know he’s
going to do the same for you.”
— Jennifer Lee

“Richard Pryor is the greatest comedian of all time.”
— Chris Rock


“You changed the world… for everyone in it.”
— Mos Def

More info on his amazing life at


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