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Richard Pryor Biography

Kraft Music Hall Special - 1964 - 1st TV Appearance?

Richard Franklin Lennox Thomas Pryor III (December 1, 1940 – December 10, 2005) was an African-American comedian, actor and writer.

Pryor was a storyteller known for unflinching examinations of racism and customs in modern life, and was well-known for his frequent use of colorful, vulgar and profane language and racial epithets. He reached a broad audience with his trenchant observations. He is widely regarded as one of the most important stand-up comedians of all time: Jerry Seinfeld called Pryor "The Picasso of our profession"; Whoopi Goldberg cited him as her biggest influence, stating "The major influence was Richard - I want to say those things he's saying." Bob Newhart has called Pryor "the seminal comedian of the last 50 years."

Richard Pryor Picture - African American Stand Up Comedian

Born: December 1, 1940(1940-12-01), Peoria, Illinois, U.S.
Died: December 10, 2005 (aged 65), Encino, California, U.S.
Medium: Stand-up comedian, film, television
Nationality: American
Years active: 1963–1999
Genres: Satire, Observational comedy, Black comedy, Improvisational comedy, Character comedy
Subject(s): racism, race relations, American politics, African-American culture, human sexuality, self-deprecation, everyday life, recreational drug use
Influences: Jack Benny, Lenny Bruce, Bill Cosby, Dick Gregory, Redd Foxx, Paul Mooney
Influenced: Martin Lawrence, Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, Eddie Murphy, Whoopi Goldberg, Bill Hicks, Robin Williams, George Lopez, Lewis Black, Colin Quinn, Bernie Mac, Louis C.K., Patton Oswalt, Artie Lange, Jim Norton
Spouses: Patricia Price (1960–1961), Shelley R. Bonus (1968–1969), Deborah McGuire (1977–1978), Jennifer Lee (1981–1982), Flynn Belaine (1986–1987), Flynn Belaine (1990–1991), Jennifer Lee (2001–2005)
Notable works and roles: That Nigger's Crazy, Bicentennial Nigger, Himself in Richard Pryor: Live in Concert and Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip, Zeke Brown in Blue Collar, Harry Monroe in Stir Crazy, Gus Gorman in Superman III
Emmy Awards: Writing in Variety or Music, 1974 Lily
Grammy Awards: Best Comedy Album - 1975 That Nigger's Crazy, 1976 ...Is It Something I Said?, 1977 Bicentennial Nigger, 1982 Rev. Du Rite, 1983 Live on the Sunset Strip
American Comedy Awards: Lifetime Achievement Award in Comedy 1993

His body of work includes such concert movies and recordings as Richard Pryor: Live and 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, usually in comedies such as Silver Streak, but occasionally in dramatic roles, such as Paul Schrader's film Blue Collar and epic roles like Gus Gorman from Superman III (1983). He also collaborated on many projects with actor Gene Wilder. He won an Emmy Award in 1973, and 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.

Biography

Early life and career

Born in Peoria, Illinois, Pryor grew up in his grandmother's brothel, where his mother, Gertrude Leona Thomas, practiced prostitution. His father, LeRoy "Buck Carter" Pryor was a former bartender, boxer and World War II veteran who worked as his wife's pimp. After his mother abandoned him when he was ten, he was raised primarily by his grandmother Marie Carter, a violent woman who would beat him for any of his eccentricities.

He was expelled from school at age 14. His first professional performance was playing drums at a night club. From 1958 to 1960, Pryor served in the U.S. Army, but spent virtually that 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. Annoyed 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 the white soldier (not fatally). According to Live on Sunset Boulevard, when he was nineteen, he worked at a Mafia-owned nightclub as the MC. Upon hearing that they would not pay a stripper, he attempted to hold up the owners with a cap pistol. The owners, amazingly enough, apparently thought he was amusing. During this time, Pryor's girlfriend gave birth to a girl named Renee. Years later, however, he found out that she was
actually 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.

In 1963, Pryor moved to New York City and began performing regularly in clubs alongside performers such as Bob Dylan and Woody Allen. On one of his first nights, he opened for singer and pianist Nina Simone at New York's Village Gate. Simone recalls Pryor's bout of performance anxiety:

“He shook like he had malaria, he was so nervous. I couldn't bear to watch him shiver, so I put my arms around him there in the dark and rocked him like a baby until he calmed down. The next night was the same, and the next, and I rocked him each time.”

Inspired by Bill Cosby, Pryor began as a middlebrow comic, with material far less controversial than what was to come. Soon, he began appearing regularly on television variety shows such as The Ed Sullivan Show and The Tonight Show. His popularity led him to become a rather successful comic in Las Vegas. The first five tracks on the 2005 compilation CD Evolution/Revolution: The Early Years (1966–1974), recorded in 1966 and 1967, capture Pryor in this era.

In September 1967, Pryor had what he called in his autobiography Pryor Convictions an "epiphany" when he walked onto the stage at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas (with Dean Martin in the audience), looked at the sold-out crowd, exclaimed over the microphone "What the fuck am I doing here!?", and walked off the stage. Afterward, Pryor began working at least mild profanity into his act, including nigger. His first comedy recording, the eponymous 1968 debut release on the Dove/Reprise label, captures this particular period, tracking the evolution of Pryor's routine. It was around this time that his parents died; his mother in 1967 and his father in 1968.

In 1967, his second child and first daughter, Elizabeth Ann, was born to his girlfriend Maxine Anderson. Later that year, he married Shelly Bonus. In 1969, his third child and second daughter, Rain Pryor, was born. Pryor and Bonus divorced later that year. He was later acounted bichen and it was stated as a true fact.

Mainstream success

In 1969, Pryor moved to Berkeley, California, where he immersed himself in the counterculture and rubbed elbows with the likes of Huey P. Newton and Ishmael Reed. He signed with the comedy-oriented independent record label Laff Records in 1970 and recorded his second album in 1971, Craps (After Hours). In 1972, the relatively unknown comedian appeared in his first film, a documentary entitled Wattstax, where he riffed on the tragic-comic absurdities of race relations in Watts and the nation. Not long afterward, Pryor sought a deal with a larger label, and after some time, signed with Stax Records. His third, breakthrough album, That Nigger's Crazy, was released in 1974 and, Laff, who claimed ownership of Pryor's recording rights, almost succeeded in getting an injunction to prevent the album from being sold. Negotiations led to Pryor's release from his Laff contract. In return for this concession, Laff was enabled to release previously unissued material,
recorded between 1968 and 1973, at will.

During the legal battle, Stax briefly closed its doors. It was at this time that Pryor returned to Reprise/Warner Bros. Records, which re-released That Nigger's Crazy immediately after ...Is It Something I Said?, his first album with his new label. With every successful album Pryor recorded for Warner (or later, his concert films and his 1980 freebasing accident), Laff would quickly publish an album of older material to capitalize on Pryor's growing fame—a practice the label would continue until 1983. The covers of Laff albums were also thematically tied in with other Pryor movies such as "The Wizard of Comedy" for his appearance in "The Wiz"; "Are You Serious?" for "Silver Streak"; and "Insane" for "Stir Crazy".

In the 1970s, Pryor wrote for such television shows as Sanford and Son, The Flip Wilson Show and a Lily Tomlin special, for which he shared an Emmy Award. Pryor also made an attempt to break into mainstream television during this period. He was a guest host on the first season of Saturday Night Live. Richard took long time girlfriend, actress-talk show host Kathrine McKee (sister of Lonette McKee) with him to New York, and she made a brief guest appearance with Pryor on SNL. His "racist word association" skit with Chevy Chase is frequently cited by TV critics as one of the funniest and most daring skits in SNL history.

The Richard Pryor Show premiered on NBC in 1977 but after only four shows, the series was cancelled. Television audiences were apparently not ready for the show's controversial subject matter, and Pryor was unwilling to alter the content of his material to meet the demands of network censors. During the short-lived series, he portrayed the first African-American President of the United States and in another skit, used costumes and visual distortion to appear nude.

In 1974, Pryor was arrested for income tax evasion and served 10 days in jail. He married actress Deborah McGuire in 1977, but they divorced in 1978. He soon began dating Jennifer Lee and they married in 1981. They divorced the following year.

Very successful and towards the height of his success, Pryor visited Africa in 1979. Upon returning to the United States, Pryor swore he would never use the word "nigger" in his stand-up comedy routine again. (However, his favorite epithet, "motherfucker", remains a term of endearment on his official website.)

Pryor appeared in several popular films from the early Seventies through the early Eighties, including Lady Sings the Blues; The Mack; Uptown Saturday Night; Silver Streak; Which Way Is Up?; Car Wash; Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings; Greased Lightning; Blue Collar & Bustin' Loose. In 1982, Pryor co-starred with Jackie Gleason in one of the "Great One"'s last projects, The Toy. In 1983, Pryor signed a five-year contract with Columbia Pictures for $40,000,000. This resulted in the gentrification of Pryor's onscreen personna and softer, more formulaic films like Superman III (which earned Pryor $4,000,000); Brewster's Millions; Stir Crazy; Moving; and See No Evil, Hear No Evil. The only film project from this period of his career that recalled his rough roots was Pryor's semi-autobiographic debut as a writer-director, Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling, which was not a major success. Though he made four films with Gene Wilder, the two comic
actors were never as close as many thought, according to Wilder's autobiography.

Pryor also co-wrote Blazing Saddles directed by Mel Brooks and starring Gene Wilder. Pryor was to play the lead role of Bart, but the film's production studio would not insure him, and Mel Brooks chose Cleavon Little instead. Before his infamous 1980 freebasing accident, Pryor was about to start filming Mel Brooks' History of the World, Part I, but was replaced at the last minute by Gregory Hines. Pryor was also originally considered for the role of Billy Ray Valentine on Trading Places (1983), before Eddie Murphy ultimately won the part.

Despite a reputation for profanity, Pryor briefly hosted a children's show on CBS in 1984 called Pryor's Place. Like Sesame Street, Pryor's Place featured a cast of puppets, hanging out and having fun in a surprisingly friendly inner-city environment along with several children and characters portrayed by Pryor himself. However, Pryor's Place frequently dealt with more sobering issues than Sesame Street. It was cancelled shortly after its debut, despite the efforts of famed puppeteers Sid and Marty Krofft and a theme song by Ray Parker Jr. of Ghostbusters fame to ensure its success.

Pryor co-hosted the Academy Awards twice, and was also nominated for an Emmy for a guest role on the television series, Chicago Hope.

Pryor developed a reputation for being difficult and unprofessional on the set of his films, and for making unreasonable demands. In his autobiography Kiss Me Like a Stranger, co-star Gene Wilder says that Pryor was frequently late to the set during filming of Stir Crazy, and that he demanded, among other things, a helicopter to fly him to and from set. Pryor was also accused of using allegations of on-set racism to force the hand of film producers into giving him more money. Also from Wilder's book:

One day during our lunch hour in the last week of filming, the craft service man handed out slices of watermelon to each of us. Richard and the whole camera crew and I sat together in a big sound studio, talking and joking. Some members of the crew used a piece of watermelon as a Frisbee, and tossed it back and forth to each other. One piece of watermelon landed at Richard's feet. He got up and went home. Filming stopped. The next day...Richard announced that he knew very well what the significance of watermelon was... He said that he was quitting show business and would not return to this film. The day after that, Richard walked in, all smiles... I wasn't privy to all the negotiations that went on between Columbia and Richard's lawyers, but the camera operator who had thrown that errant piece of watermelon had been fired. I assume now that Richard was using drugs during "Stir Crazy".

How much of this behavior can be attributed to drug use is unknown.

The freebasing incident

On June 9, 1980, Pryor set himself on fire after freebasing cocaine while drinking 151 proof alcohol. He ran down Parthenia St. from his Northridge, California home until subdued by police. He was taken to the hospital, where he was treated for the burns covering more than half of his body. Pryor spent six weeks in recovery at the Grossman Burn Center at Sherman Oaks Hospital. Interviewed in 2005, his wife Jennifer Lee Pryor said that Pryor poured high-proof rum over his body and set himself on fire in a bout of drug-induced psychosis.His daughter, Rain Pryor also stated this in an interview in People Magazine. In a TV interview with Barbara Walters during his recovery, Pryor said that he tried to commit suicide. He claimed that his managers and lawyers created the "accident" lie in the belief that it would be less damning than a suicide attempt.

Pryor incorporated a description of the incident into his "final" comedy show Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip in 1982. He joked that the event was actually caused by dunking a cookie into a glass of low-fat and pasteurized milk, causing an explosion. At the end of the bit, he poked fun at people who told jokes about it by waving a lit match and saying "What's this? It's Richard Pryor running down the street."

After his "final performance", Pryor did not stay away from stand-up comedy very long. In 1983 he filmed and released a new concert film and accompanying album, Here And Now, which he directed himself. He then wrote and directed a fictionalized account of his life, Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling. Interestingly, Jo Jo Dancer opens with a suicide attempt by the main character in which he douses himself in rum and ignites himself.

In 1984, his fourth child and second son, Steven, was born to his girlfriend Flynn Belaine. Pryor married Belaine in October 1986. They divorced in July 1987. Before their divorce was final, Belaine conceived Kelsey Pryor. Meanwhile, another of Richard's girlfriends, Geraldine Mason gave birth to Franklin Mason in April 1987 (his fifth child and third son). Six months later (October 1987), Belaine gave birth to Kelsey Pryor (Richard's sixth child and third daughter).

Marriages

Pryor was married seven times to five different women:

1. Patricia Price (1960–1961) (divorced) with 1 child named Richard Pryor, Jr.
2. Shelly Bonus (1967–1969) (divorced) with 1 child named Rain Pryor
3. Deborah McGuire (September 22, 1977 – 1979) (divorced)
4. Jennifer Lee (August 1981 – October 1982) (divorced)
5. Flynn Belaine (October 1986 – July 1987) (divorced) with 1 child
6. Flynn Belaine (1 April 1990 - July 1991) (divorced) with 1 child
7. Jennifer Lee (29 June 2001 – 10 December 2005) (his death)

Each of his marriages was characterized by accusations of domestic violence and spousal abuse except for his relationship with Belaine; most of these allegations were connected to Pryor's drug use. The exception was Patricia Price who was married to Pryor before his rise to stardom. Deborah McGuire accused him of shooting her car with a .357 Magnum, but later dropped the charges (even though this was mentioned during one of Pryor's stand-up routines, Live in Concert). Lee accused him of beating and attempting to strangle her during their first marriage, and did not share his home after they remarried. During his relationship with Pam Grier, Pryor proposed to Deborah McGuire (1977).

He had seven children: Renee, Richard Jr., Elizabeth, Rain, Steven, Franklin and Kelsey.

Later life

In 1998, Pryor became the first performer to win the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. According to Former Kennedy Center President Lawrence J. Wilker:

“Richard Pryor was selected as the first recipient of the new Mark Twain Prize because as a stand-up comic, writer, and actor, he struck a chord, and a nerve, with America, forcing it to look at large social questions of race and the more tragicomic aspects of the human condition. Though uncompromising in his wit, Pryor, like Twain, projects a generosity of spirit that unites us. They were both trenchant social critics who spoke the truth, however outrageous.”

In 2000, Rhino Records remastered all of Pryor's Reprise and WB albums for inclusion in the box set ...And It's Deep Too! The Complete Warner Bros. Recordings (1968–1992).

In 2001, he remarried Jennifer Lee, who also had become his manager.

In 2002 a television documentary documented Pryor's life and career. Broadcast in the UK as part of the Channel 4 series Kings of Black Comedy, it was produced, directed and narrated by David Upshal. It featured rare clips from Pryor's 1960s stand-up appearances and movies such as Silver Streak, Blue Collar, Stir Crazy and Richard Pryor Live In Concert. Contributors included Whoopi Goldberg, Dave Chappelle, Lily Tomlin, George Carlin, Joan Rivers, Ice-T, Paul Mooney and the show tracked down the two cops who rescued Pryor from his "freebasing incident", former managers and even school friends from Pryor's home town of Peoria, Illinois. In the US the show went out as part of the Heroes Of Black Comedy series on Comedy Central, narrated by Don Cheadle.

In 2002, Pryor and his wife/manager Jennifer Lee Pryor, won the legal rights to all of the Laff material; which amounted to almost 40 hours of reel-to-reel analog tape. After going through the tapes and getting Richard's blessing, Jennifer Lee Pryor gave Rhino Records access to the Laff tapes in 2004. These tapes, including the entire Craps album, form the basis of the double-CD release Evolution/Revolution: The Early Years (1966–1974).

In 2003, a television documentary, Richard Pryor: I Ain't Dead Yet, #*%$#@!!, came out. It consisted of archival footage of Pryor's performances and testimonials from fellow comedians such as Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, Wanda Sykes and Denis Leary of the influence Pryor had on comedy.

In 2004, Pryor was voted #1 on Comedy Central's list of the 100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time. In a 2005 British poll to find The Comedian's Comedian, Pryor was voted the 10th greatest comedy act ever by fellow comedians and comedy insiders.

His final performance was at the Circle Star Theater in San Carlos, California.

In his later years, Richard Pryor used a wheelchair due to multiple sclerosis (M.S., which he said stood for "More Shit"). In late-2004, his sister claimed that Pryor lost his voice. However, on January 9, 2005, Pryor's wife, Jennifer Lee, rebutted this statement in a post on Pryor's official website, citing Richard as saying: "Sick of hearing this shit about me not talking... not true... good days, bad days... but I still am a talkin' motherfucker!"

Pryor was posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. The animal rights organization PETA gives out an award in Pryor's name to people who have done outstanding work to alleviate animal suffering. Mr. Pryor was active in animal rights and was deeply concerned about the plight of elephants in circuses and zoos.

Death

Richard Pryor's star at the Hollywood Walk of Fame covered with flowers, beer bottles, fan letters etc.

On December 10, 2005, Pryor died of cardiac arrest in Encino, California. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital at 7:58 a.m. PST. Pryor died just 9 days after his 65th birthday. He was brought to the hospital after his wife's attempts to resuscitate him failed. His wife Jennifer was quoted as saying, "At the end, there was a smile on his face." He was cremated and his ashes were given to friends and family.

Remembrance and legacy

On December 19, 2005, BET aired a Pryor special. It included commentary from fellow comedians, as well as insight into Pryor's upbringing. A feature film about Pryor is currently in development. It was written by Pryor and his wife, but no actor as of this date has been chosen to portray Pryor.

The conductor of the Emory University Orchestra is named after him.

Pryor has been voted the 'Number 1 Greatest Stand Up Comedian of All Time' in numerous polls worldwide.

An image of Pryor can be seen on the Rage Against The Machine music video for their Soul Sonic Force cover of "Renegades of Funk".

There is a street just west of the downtown Peoria area named in his honor, a decision that was met with much controversy.

Discography

Albums

-Richard Pryor (Dove/Reprise, 1968)
-Craps (After Hours) (Laff Records, 1971, reissued 1993 by Loose Cannon/Island)
-That Nigger's Crazy, (Partee/Stax, 1974, reissued 1975 by Reprise)
-...Is It Something I Said?, (Reprise, 1975, reissued 1991 on CD by Warner Archives)
-L.A. Jail, (Tiger Lily, 1976)
-Bicentennial Nigger, (Reprise, 1976)
-Are You Serious???, (Laff, 1977)
-Who Me? I'm Not Him, (Laff, 1977)
-Black Ben The Blacksmith, (Laff, 1978)
-The Wizard Of Comedy, (Laff, 1978)
-Wanted: Live in Concert (2-LP set), (Warner Bros. Records, 1978)
-Outrageous, (Laff, 1979)
-Insane, (Laff, 1980)
-Holy Smoke!, (Laff, 1980)
-Rev. Du Rite, (Laff, 1981)
-Live On The Sunset Strip (Warner Bros. Records, 1982)
-Richard Pryor Live! (picture disc), (Phoenix/Audiofidelity, 1982)
-Supernigger, (Laff. 1983)
-Here And Now, (Warner Bros. Records, 1983)

Compilations

-Pryor Goes Foxx Hunting, (Laff. 1973)
Split LP with Redd Foxx, containing previously released tracks from Craps (After Hours)

-Down And Dirty, (Laff. 1975)
Split LP with Redd Foxx, containing previously released tracks from Craps (After Hours)

-Richard Pryor Meets... Richard & Willie And... The SLA!!, (Laff. 1976)
Split LP with black ventriloquist act Richard And Willie, containing previously released tracks from Craps (After Hours)

-Richard Pryor's Greatest Hits, (Warner Bros. Records, 1977)
Contains tracks from Craps (After Hours), That Nigger's Crazy, and ...Is It Something I Said?, plus a previously unreleased track from 1975, "Ali".

-Blackjack, (Laff. 1983)
Repackaged and retitled reissue of Craps (After Hours).

-Show Biz, (Laff. 1983)
Repackaged and retitled reissue of Black Ben The Blacksmith.

-Richard Pryor Live!, (Laff. 1983)
Repackaged reissue of the Phoenix/Audiofidelity picture disc from 1982. The album lists two tracks ("Vegas" and "Negro") that only appear on the picture disc, despite the fact that they are listed on the disc label of the Laff release.

-...And It's Deep Too! The Complete Warner Bros. Recordings (1968–1992) (9-CD box set) (Warner Bros. Records/Rhino, 2000)
Box set collection of Richard Pryor, That Nigger's Crazy, ...Is It Something I Said? (with "Ali" from Richard Pryor's Greatest Hits appended as a bonus track), Bicentennial Nigger, Wanted/Richard Pryor Comedy Video - Live In Concert (on 2 CDs), Live On The Sunset Strip, Here And Now (with a previously unreleased 1983 interview appended as a bonus track), and That African-American Is Still Crazy: Good Shit From The Vaults (an entire disc of previously unissued material from 1973 to 1992 exclusive to the box).

-The Anthology (1968–1992) (2-CD set) (Warner Bros. Records/Rhino], 2002 in music/2002)
Highlights culled from the albums collected in the ...And It's Deep Too! box set.

-Evolution/Revolution: The Early Years (1966–1974) (2-CD set) (Warner Bros. Records/Rhino], 2005 in music/2005)
Pryor-authorized compilation of material released on Laff, including the entire Craps (After Hours) album.

Filmography

The Busy Body (1967)
Uncle Tom's Fairy Tales (1968)
Wild in the Streets (1968)
Black Brigade (1970)
The Phynx (1970)
You've Got to Walk It Like You Talk It or You'll Lose That Beat (1971)
Dynamite Chicken (1972)
Lady Sings the Blues (1972)
The Mack (1973)
Wattstax (1973)
Hit! (1973)
Some Call It Loving (1973)
Uptown Saturday Night (1974)
The Lion Roars Again (1975)
Adios Amigo (1976)
Car Wash (1976)
The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings (1976)
Silver Streak (1976)
Which Way Is Up? (1977)
Greased Lightning (1977)
Blue Collar (1978)
The Wiz (1978)
California Suite (1978)
Richard Pryor: Live in Concert (1979)
The Muppet Movie (1979) (cameo)
Wholly Moses (1980)
In God We Tru$t (1980)
Stir Crazy (1980)
Bustin' Loose (1981)
Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip (1982)
Some Kind of Hero (1982)
The Toy (1982)
Superman III (1983)
Richard Pryor: Here and Now (1983)
Motown 25 (1983)
Richard Pryor: Live and Smokin' (1985)
Brewster's Millions (1985)
Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling (1986)
Critical Condition (1987)
Moving (1988)
See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989)
Harlem Nights (1989)
The Three Muscatels (1991)
Another You (1991)
A Century of Cinema (1994)
Mad Dog Time (1996)
Lost Highway (1997)
Bitter Jester (2003)
I Ain't Dead Yet, #*%$@!! (2003)
Richard Pryor: The Funniest Man Dead Or Alive (2005, BET Special)

Richard Pryor Quotes - Comedy Quotes, Comedian Quotes, Funny Quotes, Funny Quote

From Wikiquote

Richard Pryor (1 December 1940 - 10 December 2005) was an American actor, writer, and comedian.

Sourced

Let me tell you what really happened... Every night before I go to bed, I have milk and cookies. One night I mixed some low-fat milk and some pasteurized, then I dipped my cookie in and the shit blew up.
At the start of a routine about his freebasing accident. Live At The Sunset Strip (1982) - Richard Pryor Quote

I went through every phone book in Africa, and I didn't find one god damned Pryor!
On trying to find his roots. Live At The Sunset Strip (1982) - Richard Pryor Quote

I don't want to go through life as a Wonder Wheel murderer!
The Toy (1982) - Richard Pryor Quote

Have you ever noticed how quiet you get when you go in the woods? It's almost like you know that God's there.
"The time of his life" - The Guardian (7 June 2004) - Richard Pryor Quote

I'd like to die like my father died... My father died fucking. My father was 57 when he died. The woman was 18. My father came and went at the same time.
"The time of his life" - The Guardian (7 June 2004) - Richard Pryor Quote

You gotta be cool when you're macho man, cuz you can't be sensitive and care about someone having a good time in bed, cuz that's too scary... When you don't use sensitivity when you're having sex, or share some of your soul, nothing gonna happen, because men really get afraid. Men really get scared in bed.
"The time of his life" - The Guardian (7 June 2004) - Richard Pryor Quote

Web-posts

Sick of hearing this shit about me not talking... not true... good days, bad days... but I still am a talkin motherfucker!
Post on his official website rebutting reports he had lost his voice. - Richard Pryor Quote

Rosa Parks showed us all that one little person can make a whole bunch of noise without so much as a whisper. She showed the world that the color of your skin shouldn't determine what part of the bus you sit in... as you ride through life. - Richard Pryor Quote
Post on US civil rights activist Rosa Parks.

Attributed

I love show business. I wake up every morning and kiss it. - Richard Pryor Quote

My grandmother used to discipline me, I mean, beat my ass, and I deserved them, too. - Richard Pryor Quote

Bitch was so fine I'd suck her daddy's dick. - Richard Pryor Quote

Everyone carries around his own monsters. - Richard Pryor Quote

Freebase? What's free about it? - Richard Pryor Quote

Fuckin' is good for you, Jack. Gettin' some pussy beats having a war. - Richard Pryor Quote

How's my mama? How's your mama? I will slap you in the mouth with my dick. - Richard Pryor Quote

I believe in the institution of marriage, and I intend to keep trying 'til I get it right. - Richard Pryor Quote

I couldn't stop. I put the pipe down. It jumped back in my hand. - Richard Pryor Quote

I had some great things and I had some bad things. The best and the worst... In other words, I had a life. - Richard Pryor Quote

I live in racist America and I'm uneducated, yet a lot of people love me and like what I do, and I can make a living from it. You can't do much better than that. - Richard Pryor Quote

I never met anybody who said when they were a kid, "I wanna grow up and be a critic." - Richard Pryor Quote

I'd like to make you laugh for about ten minutes — though I'm gonna be on for an hour. - Richard Pryor Quote

I'm not addicted to cocaine... I just like the way it smells. - Richard Pryor Quote

It's been a struggle for me because I had a chance to be white and refused. - Richard Pryor Quote

Marriage is really tough because you have to deal with feelings... and lawyers. - Richard Pryor Quote

The man would box so good it'd make your dick hard! - Richard Pryor Quote

There's a thin line between to laugh with and to laugh at. - Richard Pryor Quote

There's nothing worse than being an aging young person. - Richard Pryor Quote

To be diagnosed was the hardest thing because I didn't know what they were talking about... And the doctor said, "Don't worry, in three months you'll know." So I went about my business and then, one day, it jumped me. I couldn't get up... Your muscles trick you; they did me. - Richard Pryor Quote

When you ain't got no money, you gotta get an attitude. - Richard Pryor Quote

You have to have lived some life. You've got to have paid some dues. - Richard Pryor Quote

Here and Now

Misc

When the show don't be funny, I take my dick out and piss. This is called The Garden Row. - Richard Pryor Quote

It's easy to love somebody. Shit, sit with them a little bit and talk to them a while. - Richard Pryor Quote

Most people that you talk to, they's intelligent. Like I said, "Most people." - Richard Pryor Quote

How do you 'accidentally' shoot a nigga in the chest six times? 'Well, my gun fell and just went crazy!' - Richard Pryor Quote

On Race

When I hear 'yee-haw!', that scare the shit outta me. Cuz I know what come next. Y'all remember? Y'all's ancestors used to hang us for kicks? ..Muthafuckin on the weekend (hot!! couldn't get no pussy..)? ..'Let's go down to the jail, get a couple of them black ones and just string 'em up. ..yeehaww..' ..When I hear that, shit crawl all up and down my neck. - Richard Pryor Quote

Slaves built all this shit down here.. Or carried the shit that built it.. (on New Orleans) - Richard Pryor Quote

It used to be Rhodesia, before they killed all them white muthafuckas. - Richard Pryor Quote

I know how white people feel in America now, relaxed. (upon traveling to Zimbabwe) Because when I hear the police siren, I knew they wasn't comin' after me. - Richard Pryor Quote

I don't understand what goes on some times, right, cuz here we are in this theater, we gettin along just fine. We go outside and the shit change. - Richard Pryor Quote

That's insanity. We must be good all the time. - Richard Pryor Quote

White people go; Why you guys hold your things(penis)? Cause you done took every thing else motherfucka! - Richard Pryor Quote

On South Africa

2 million white people, 22 million blacks.. They can't hang. - Richard Pryor Quote

Only thing is, like, America helps them muthafuckas. Like sending them bombs, and napalm and shit. ..Help them bomb black people and shit. Fuck that. - Richard Pryor Quote

On Reagan

I went to the White House, met the president... We in trouble. - Richard Pryor Quote

Muthafucka looked at me like I owed him money. - Richard Pryor Quote

See, he'd been to the University of UCLA (sic). He hadn't been down to the U of Miss of Alabama. Cuz they got white folks down there that scare white folks. They have to keep them motherfuckers on a leash. Muthufuckin in a basement and shit. - Richard Pryor Quote

As Mudbone

I had one girlfriend, she had one of them "recto-mies." You know, that's where they scoop the pussy out and leave the box it came in. We got along just fine. She didn't want nothin' from me, and I sure didn't want nothin' from her. - Richard Pryor Quote

They fucked around, started negotiating with those white people, they lost ALL that shit.. And what they didn't lose negotiating, they {white people} just kicked their ass on out of.. - Richard Pryor Quote

On Alcohol

I had to stop drinkin', cuz I got tired of waking in my car driving ninety. - Richard Pryor Quote

I couldn't stop drinkin' until the bartender said, "WE GOT NO MORE FUCKING LIQUOR! Now take your ass home, pal." - Richard Pryor Quote

What I never understand about a hangover is, where does the breath come from? You know what I mean? I mean, is someone shitting in your mouth? - Richard Pryor Quote

And it's the people you meet after you been drunk, that remember shit you don't remember: "Hey Rich, don't you remember that time we went out, we got fucked up, and you stuck your arm up that elephant's ass? Don't you remember that? Elephant tightened his ass up and went walking down the street with you? Don't you remember that? Man, you looked like a turd with a hat on." - Richard Pryor Quote

LOOK AT THIS MAN!!! I CAN CATCH MY HAND!!! - Richard Pryor Quote

On Drugs

They call it an epidemic now. That means white folks are doing it. - Richard Pryor Quote

Y'all remember? Y'all used to drive through our neighborhoods and shit and go, "Oh, look at that. Isn't that terrible. Then you'd get home, right, and your 14 year old'd be fucked up, and you'd go, "OH MY GOD! IT'S AN EPIDEMIC!" - Richard Pryor Quote

Maybe next time you see black people in trouble, you'll help. - Richard Pryor Quote

See, I had some drugs and shit right now, I wouldn't give a fuck. But I'd come off stage, and I still wouldn't give a fuck. Then, by the time you're 50, a lotta 'no-givin-a-fuck', you missed part your life. - Richard Pryor Quote

I started off, snorting little tiny pinches, said I know I ain't gonna get hooked, not on no coke, you can't get hooked, my friends been snorting 15 years, they ain't hooked. - Richard Pryor Quote

(on coke) "Somebody told me you put it on your dick, you could fuck all night. Shouldn't have told me that - my dick had a jones, $600 a day just to get my dick hard." - Richard Pryor Quote

Being sober, and being off drugs, too, it's a strange feeling. And I get real scared when I'm out here sometimes. I get real nervous about it. I wanna fuckin' run! You know, I look out there, I say, "SHIT! IT'S SCARY!" And I say, "Fuck it. Go through it. Just feel the experience. Just fuck it." 'Cause if I had some drugs and shit now, I wouldn't give a fuck. But then I'd come off stage, I still wouldn't give a fuck. Then, by the time you're fifty, after a lot of not giving a fuck, you miss part of your life. They'll say, What happened to your life? "I didn't give a fuck." - Richard Pryor Quote

"i'm not addicted to coke, i just love the way it smells" - Richard Pryor Quote

On Women

"If you want some pussy, you'll talk all that shit with them. ..'Hey, yeah,, sure,, the cosmos.. sure..' - Richard Pryor Quote

Quotes of others about Richard Pryor

Richard Pryor is the greatest stand-up who ever lived. He opened the biggest door and turned the light on in the room. - Roseanne Barr Quote

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 Quote

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 Quote

He's the kind of comedian that everyone calls him by his first name — like they know him. Richard! - Dave Chappelle Quote

Richard is the consummate comic/jazz artist, and no one will ever touch his genius. - Chevy Chase Quote

You changed the world... for everyone in it. - Mos Def Quote

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

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 Quote

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 Quote

His star shines fiercely in the universe of art, with a truth and intensity unlike any other. - Kris Kristofferson Quote

It sounds cliché to say that he opened the doors for all of us, but it's true... He did for comedy what politicians do for movements. He passed a law that said it was OK to tell it like it is. - Martin Lawrence Quote

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 Quote

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 Quote

To fully appreciate the power of Richard Pryor as a stand-up comedian, you had to follow him at the Comedy Store. I did once, and I'm lucky to be alive. - David Letterman Quote

I love Richard Pryor. He is a comic genius and a great human being. As he's explored the depths and heights, he's found a laugh around every corner. - David Lynch Quote

Richard Pryor is the King. He always will be. - Bernie Mac Quote

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

You are my friend, my pal, my domino partner, and the funniest motherfucker in the world today. - Willie Nelson Quote

Richard Pryor is the greatest comedian of all time. - Chris Rock Quote

Richard Pryor is to comedy what Gretzky is to hockey, what Ali is to Boxing. He is The Beatles of comedy. - Paul Rodriguez Quote

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

He doesn't fall into the [categories] of comedians we have, like prop comic, black comic, Jewish comic, white comic... he doesn't even get comic. He's just funny! - Jon Stewart Quote

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 Quote

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 Quote

There are many different kinds of comedians... the observational humorist, the impressionist, the character creator, the physical comedian, the self-depreciator, and the dirty-joke teller. What made Richard Pryor so brilliant is he was able to incorporate all these styles at once. - Damon Wayans Quote

Richard 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 Quote

The one true master of stand up. - Bill Hicks Quote

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