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Richard Franklin Lennox Thomas Pryor (December 1, 1940 - December 10, 2005) was an American comedian, actor and writer. Pryor performed in movies, on television and as a stand-up comedian. He won an Emmy Award in 1973. He won five Grammy Awards (in 1974, 1975, 1976, 1981 and 1982). In 1974, he also won two American Academy of Humor awards and the Writers Guild of America Award. He was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Screenplay for his work on Blazing Saddles. The first ever Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor was given to him in 1998. Pryor is listed at Number 1 on Comedy Central's list of all-time greatest stand-up comedians.
Pryor had a mild heart attack in November 1977. He was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1986. In 1990, Pryor had a second and more severe heart attack. He had triple heart bypass surgery. By the early 1990s, he needed to use a wheelchair because of his multiple sclerosis.
The freebasing incident
On June 9, 1980, during the making of the movie Bustin' Loose, Pryor set himself on fire. He was freebasing cocaine while drinking 151-proof rum. He ran down Parthenia Street from his Northridge, California, home, on fire, until stopped by police. He was taken to the hospital. Burns covered more than half of his body. Pryor spent six weeks in recovery at the Grossman Burn Center at Sherman Oaks Hospital.
Marriages and relationships
Pryor was married seven times to five different women:
- Patricia Price (1960–1961, divorced) with one child named Richard Pryor Jr.
- Shelly Bonis (1967–1969, divorced) with one child named Rain Pryor
- Deborah McGuire (September 22, 1977 – 1979, divorced)
- Jennifer Lee (August 1981 – October 1982, divorced)
- Flynn Belaine (October 1986 – July 1987, divorced) with son Steven (born before the marriage) and daughter Kelsey (before divorce finalized)
- Flynn Belaine (April 1, 1990 – July 1991, divorced)
- Jennifer Lee (June 29, 2001 – December 10, 2005, his death)
All of his wives, except Belaine, said there was domestic violence. Most of these times were connected to Pryor's drug use.
He had six children: Richard Jr., Elizabeth, Rain, Steven, Franklin and Kelsey.
- Official canon
- 1968 - Richard Pryor (Dove/Reprise)
- 1971 - Craps (After Hours) (Laff Records, reissued 1993 by Loose Cannon/Island)
- 1974 - That Nigger's Crazy, (Partee/Stax, reissued 1975 by Reprise)
- 1975 - ...Is It Something I Said?, (Reprise, reissued 1991 on CD by Warner Archives)
- 1976 - Holy Smoke!, (Laff)
- 1976 - Bicentennial Nigger, (Reprise)
- 1976 - L.A. Jail, (Tiger Lily)
- 1977 - Are You Serious ???, (Laff)
- 1977 - Who Me? I'm Not Him, (Laff)
- 1978 - Black Ben The Blacksmith, (Laff)
- 1978 - The Wizard of Comedy, (Laff)
- 1978 - Wanted: Live in Concert (2-LP set), (Warner Bros. Records);Others
- 1979 - Outrageous, (Laff)
- 1980 - Insane, (Laff)
- 1981 - Rev. Du Rite, (Laff)
- 1982 - Richard Pryor Live! (picture disc), (Phoenix/Audiofidelity)
- 1982 - Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip (Warner Bros. Records)
- 1983 - Here and Now, (Warner Bros. Records)
- 1983 - Supernigger, (Laff)
- Staff writer (May 21, 2004). "Pryor: I Owe It All to Lenny Bruce". Contactmusic.com. http://www.contactmusic.com/new/xmlfeed.nsf/story/pryor.-i-owe-it-all-to-lenny-bruce. Retrieved 2009-08-23.
- "George Carlin". Inside the Actors Studio. Bravo. 2004-10-31. No. 4, season 1.
- Allis, Tim (April 12, 1993). "Court Jester". People. http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20110142,00.html. Retrieved 2009-08-23.
- Lopez, George; Keteyian, Armen (2004). Why You Crying?: My Long, Hard Look at Life, Love, and Laughter. Simon and Schuster. .
- Margaret Cho. "Richard Pryor". http://www.margaretcho.com/content/2003/12/04/richard-pryor/. Retrieved December 4, 2003.
- "Dave Chappelle". Inside the Actors Studio. Bravo. 2006-02-12. No. 10, season 12.
- Reid, Shaheem (December 12, 2005). "Chris Rock, Bernie Mac, Eddie Murphy Call Pryor The Real King Of Comedy — 'Without Richard, There Would Be No Me,' Bernie Mac Says". MTV. Retrieved January 11, 2010.
- Richard Pryor: I Ain't Dead Yet, #*%$@!!, 2003, Comedy Central
- Gillette, Amelie (June 7, 2006). "Lewis Black". The A.V. Club. http://www.avclub.com/content/node/49217. Retrieved 2010-06-17.
- "Colin Quinn". Popentertainment.com. http://www.popentertainment.com/quinn.htm. Retrieved 2010-06-17.
- Chris Tucker – Movie and Film Biography and Filmography – AllRovi.com
- "Interview with Louis C.K.". One Night Stand. HBO. 2005. http://www.hbo.com/onenightstand/interviews/louis_ck.html. Retrieved 2007-12-06.
- "aspecialthing.com :: View topic - THE AST INTERVIEW: PATTON OSWALT". Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on October 13, 2007. https://web.archive.org/web/20071013165258/http://aspecialthing.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=1465. Retrieved 2010-09-24.
- Kirschling, Gregory (November 7, 2008). "Artie Lange: 'F--- It, I'll Write a Book'". Entertainment Weekly. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20239025_3,00.html. Retrieved 2008-11-11.
- Jeremy Gillick; Nonna Gorilovskaya (November/December 2008). "Meet Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz (aka) Jon Stewart: The wildly zeitgeisty Daily Show host". Moment. http://www.momentmag.com/Exclusive/2008/12/JonStewart.html. Retrieved August 10, 2009.
- Interview with Bill Zehme, Richard Lewis: Concerts from Hell: The Vintage Years, Image Entertainment, Released 2005-09-13
- "Interview with Jim Norton". One Night Stand. HBO. 2005. http://www.hbo.com/onenightstand/interviews/jim_norton.html. Retrieved 2009-08-23.
- "Richard Pryor to Get Posthumous Grammy Award". VOAnews.com (Voice of America). January 11, 2006. http://voanews.com/english/archive/2006-01/Richard-Pryor-to-Get-Posthumous-Grammy-Award.cfm. Retrieved January 4, 2009.
- "Lee Daniels' Richard Pryor biopic to star Mike Epps". BBC News. https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-28953387. Retrieved August 28, 2014.
- "Richard Pryor". Richard Pryor. http://www.richardpryor.com/0/4113/0/1240/. Retrieved 2010-06-17.