Richard Franklin Lennox Thomas Pryor (December 1, 1940 – December 10, 2005) was an American comedian, actor, film director, social critic, satirist, writer, and MC.
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", and Bob Newhart has called Pryor "the seminal comedian of the last 50 years". 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."
Pryor's 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.
His nicknames were Rich, Richie, Dickie, and Dick.
Richard was sexually molested by a Catholic Priest during Catheticism at age 9.
Richard formed his own production company in 1980, calling it Indigo.
Richard worked as a shoe shine boy, a janitor at a strip club, truck driver, and a meat packer before becoming famous.
Richard reportedly earned $4,000,000 for his role in the 1983 film, Superman III. This was an unprecedented amount for a black actor, as well as one million dollars more than the film's star, Christopher Reeve received.
Richard dated actress Pam Grier in the 1970's.
Has won 5 Grammy Awards in the category of Best Comedy Recording throughout the 1970s and the 1980s.
On June 9, 1980 during the filming of Bustin' Loose Richard set himself on fire while freebasing cocaine and drinking 151-proof rum
After setting himself a blaze he rain down Parthenia street from his home in Northridge California to the police station and was then sent to the hospital for treatment for his burns over half of his body
He then spent six weeks in the Grossman Burn Center at Sherman Oaks Hospital
First appeared on Ed Sullivan Oct 13th 1968