Richard Pryor

Actor, Comedian, Screenwriter
Exploiting his own life experiences with a brutal honesty, which he delivered in a profanity-laced urban lyricism, Richard Pryor was arguably the most influential and groundbreaking comedian of his generation. Emerging ... Read more »
Born: 12/01/1940 in Peoria, Illinois, USA

Filmography

Actor (86)

The Three Muscatels 2014 (Movie)

Russell the Wino (Actor)

Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic 2013 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time 2003 - 2004 (TV Show)

Actor

Richard Pryor: I Ain't Dead Yet, #*%$#@!! 2003 - 2004 (TV Show)

Host

Chicago Hope 1991 - 1992, 1995 - 1996, 1999 - 2000 (Tv Show)

Actor

Norm 1991 - 1992, 1995 - 1996, 1999 - 2000 (Tv Show)

Actor

Sam Kinison: Why Did We Laugh? 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Actor

Wattstax 2000 (Movie)

(Actor)

12th Annual American Comedy Awards 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

Margot Kidder: The E! True Hollywood Story 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

Lost Highway 1997 (Movie)

Arnie (Actor)

Mad Dog Time 1996 (Movie)

Jimmy the Grave Digger (Actor)

Malcolm and Eddie 1995 - 1996 (Tv Show)

Actor

Martin 1991 - 1992, 1995 - 1996 (Tv Show)

Actor

Richard Pryor: Comic on the Edge 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Actor

The 10th Annual American Comedy Awards 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Actor

The 27th Annual NAACP Image Awards 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Actor

20 Years of Comedy on HBO 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Actor

The Second Annual Comedy Hall of Fame 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Actor

But... Seriously 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Actor

Apollo Theater Hall of Fame 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Actor

Soul Train Comedy Awards 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Actor

The Comedy Store's 20th Birthday 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Actor

What Is This Thing Called Love? 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Actor

A Party For Richard Pryor 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

The Meaning of Life 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

A Laugh, a Tear 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Actor

Another You 1991 (Movie)

Eddie Dash (Actor)

Harlem Nights 1989 (Movie)

Sugar Ray (Actor)

See No Evil, Hear No Evil 1989 (Movie)

Wally (Actor)

The Comedy Store 15th Year Class Reunion 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Actor

Moving 1988 (Movie)

Arlo Pear (Actor)

Critical Condition 1987 (Movie)

Eddie/Kevin (Actor)

The Barbara Walters Special (12/02/86) 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor

Funny 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Actor

Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling 1986 (Movie)

Jo Jo Dancer (Actor)

Brewster's Millions 1985 (Movie)

Montgomery Brewster (Actor)

Pryor's Place 1984 - 1985 (TV Show)

Actor

Superman III 1983 (Movie)

Gus Gorman (Actor)

Hollywood: The Gift of Laughter 1981 - 1982 (TV Show)

Actor

Richard Pryor Here and Now 1982 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Some Kind of Hero 1982 (Movie)

Eddie Keller (Actor)

The Richard Pryor Special 1981 - 1982 (TV Show)

Actor

The Toy 1982 (Movie)

Jack Brown (Actor)

Bustin' Loose 1981 (Movie)

Joe Braxton (Actor)

Richard Pryor Live on the Sunset Strip 1981 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

In God We Trust 1980 (Movie)

GOD (Actor)

Stir Crazy 1980 (Movie)

Harry Monroe (Actor)

Wholly Moses! 1980 (Movie)

Pharoah (Actor)

The Muppet Movie 1979 (Movie)

Balloon Vendor (Actor)

Blue Collar 1978 (Movie)

Zeke Brown (Actor)

California Suite 1978 (Movie)

Dr Chauncey Gump (Actor)

Richard Pryor Live in Concert 1978 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

The Richard Pryor Show 1977 - 1978 (TV Show)

Actor

The Wiz 1978 (Movie)

The Wiz (Actor)

Greased Lightning 1977 (Movie)

Wendell Scott (Actor)

The Richard Pryor Special? 1976 - 1977 (TV Show)

Actor

Which Way Is Up? 1977 (Movie)

Leroy Jones/Rufus Jones/Reverend Thomas (Actor)

Car Wash 1976 (Movie)

(Actor)

Silver Streak 1976 (Movie)

Grover Muldoon (Actor)

Adios Amigo 1975 (Movie)

Sam (Actor)

Flip Wilson... Of Course 1974 - 1975 (TV Show)

Actor

The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings 1975 (Movie)

Charlie Snow (Actor)

The Flip Wilson Special 1974 - 1975 (TV Show)

Actor

Uptown Saturday Night 1974 (Movie)

Sharp Eye Washington (Actor)

Comedy News 1972 - 1973 (TV Show)

Actor

Hit! 1973 (Movie)

Mike Willmer (Actor)

Some Call It Loving 1973 (Movie)

Jeff (Actor)

The Lily Tomlin Show 1972 - 1973 (TV Show)

Actor

The Mack 1973 (Movie)

Slim (Actor)

Lady Sings the Blues 1972 (Movie)

Piano Man (Actor)

Dynamite Chicken 1971 (Movie)

(Actor)

A Last Laugh at the 60's 1969 - 1970 (TV Show)

Actor

Carter's Army 1969 - 1970 (TV Show)

Actor

The Wild Wild West 1965 - 1970 (TV Show)

Actor

The Young Lawyers 1969 - 1970 (TV Show)

Actor

The Phynx 1969 (Movie)

Richard Pryor (Actor)

Wild in the Streets 1968 (Movie)

Stanley X (Actor)

ABC Stage '67 1966 - 1967 (TV Show)

Actor

The Busy Body 1967 (Movie)

Whittaker (Actor)

Lily (TV Show)

Actor
Writer (6)

Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling 1986 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Richard Pryor Here and Now 1982 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Bustin' Loose 1981 (Movie)

(From Story)

Richard Pryor Live on the Sunset Strip 1981 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Richard Pryor Live in Concert 1978 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Blazing Saddles 1974 (Movie)

(Screenplay)
Producer (4)

Mo' Funny: Black Comedy in America 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling 1986 (Movie)

(Producer)

Bustin' Loose 1981 (Movie)

(Producer)

Richard Pryor Live on the Sunset Strip 1981 (Movie)

(Producer)
Director (2)

Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling 1986 (Movie)

(Director)

Richard Pryor Here and Now 1982 (Movie)

(Director)

Biography

Exploiting his own life experiences with a brutal honesty, which he delivered in a profanity-laced urban lyricism, Richard Pryor was arguably the most influential and groundbreaking comedian of his generation. Emerging from a youth of violence and abuse, Pryor used that history to inform his comedy, more as a raconteur than as a traditional teller of jokes. His material was profane and socially astute, provoking thought as well as laughter. As a writer, he earned an Emmy, in addition to five Grammy Awards for his comedy albums. Although a veteran of more than 40 feature films, Pryor's creative apex came with the seminal performance movie "Richard Pryor Live in Concert" (1979). Then, at the height of his fame and in the depths of a debilitating drug addiction, Pryor nearly died after lighting himself on fire while he "freebased" cocaine in 1980. To the astonishment of many, he rose like a phoenix from the ashes and went on to become one of the biggest movie stars of the day in films like "Stir Crazy" (1980) and "Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip" (1982). The rebirth was short-lived, unfortunately, after the effects of multiple sclerosis began to erode his once formidable ability, beginning in 1986 and ultimately debilitating the comedian by the end of the decade. Cited as a major influence by the likes of Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock, Pryor not only expanded the definition of comedy, but also the social and racial boundaries that had previously defined its audience.

Relationships

Shelly Bonus

Wife

Buck Carter

Father
WWII veteran married Pryor's mother when Pryor was three reportedly beat Pryor's mother and other prostitutes died in 1968

Marie Carter

Grandmother
paternal one of 21 children supervised prostitution in a series of brownstones on Peoria's North Washington Street gained custody of Pryor after mother left

Pam Grier Actor

Companion
together in the 1970s

Margot Kidder Actor

Companion

Jennifer Lee

Wife
fourth wife married in 1982 divorced wrote autobiography, "Tarnished Angel: Surviving in the Dark Curve of Drugs, Violence, Sex and Fame" (1991) in which she claimed that Pryor physically abused her during their 14-month marriage and 14-year relationship (date approxmate)

Geraldine Mason

Companion
had one son together in 1987

Franklin Mason

Son
born c. 1987 in 1991 court upheld prior decision that Pryor must pay $4,500 in child support for his son by Geraldine Mason

Deboragh McGuire

Wife
fourth wife married in 1977 divorced in 1978 born c. 1955

Patricia Price

Wife
married in 1960 divorced

Rain Pryor Actor

Child
Born July 16, 1969 Mother, Shelly Bonus co-star of "Head of the Class"

Gertrude Pryor

Mother
left Pryor and his father due to the latter beating her when Pryor was ten years old died in 1967

Flynn Pryor

Wife
married in October 1986 divorced remarried on April 1, 1990 slated to produce, direct, write and star in "The Three Muscatels" for Peacock Films separated Pryor took out an order of protection against her

Elizabeth Pryor

Daughter
born c. 1967

Renee Pryor

Daughter
born 1957 fathered by Pryor when he was 17

Kelsey Pryor

Son
born c. 1987

Richard Pryor

Son
born c. 1962 mother Patricia Price

Stephen Pryor

Son
born c. 1984

EDUCATION

dropped out of school at age 14

Milestones

2003

Hosted "Richard Pryor: I Ain't Dead Yet", featured clips of his concert appearances, recordings and diary excerpts as well as his comic pals

1995

Appeared with daughter Rain in episode of CBS medical drama "Chicago Hope" as a patient with multiple sclerosis in November

1995

Wrote autobiography "Pryor Convictions"

1993

Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

1991

Underwent triple-bypass heart surgury

1990

Suffered a heart attack on an Australian golf course

1988

Made an abortive attempt to put together a standup routine

1986

First diagnosed with multiple sclerosis; went public in 1991

1983

First film as director, "Richard Pryor Here and Now"

1981

First film as co-producer, "Bustin' Loose"

1980

Started his own production company, Indigo, at Columbia Pictures; put Jim Brown, his best friend at the time, in charge (date approximate)

1980

"Accidentally" set himself on fire while freebasing cocaine; suffered third-degree burns over half his body; later revealed that he began freebasing again three weeks after leaving the hospital; admitted to Barbara Walters in a 1986 interview that the inc

1978

Shot up the car of Deboragh McGuire, then his wife, with a gun when she attempted to leave him

1977

Suffered his first heart attack while dallying with a prostitute

1974

First film as screenwriter (with Mel Brooks), "Blazing Saddles"; lost promised lead role to Cleavon Little

1969

Moved to Berkeley, CA; began socializing with writers Ishmael Reed and Cecil Brown (date approximate)

1968

Reportedly suffered a nervous breakdown of sorts while performing his popular Bill Cosby-like standup routine onstage at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas; fled the building

1968

Gained critical notice as Stanley X in the classic youth exploitation film, "Wild in the Streets"

1967

Film acting debut, "The Busy Body", a comedy directed by William Castle

1966

Appeared as standup comic on the Johnny Carson, Merv Griffin and Ed Sullivan shows (date approximate)

1964

First TV appearance, "On Broadway Tonight", a variety show hosted by Rudy Vallee featuring new talent

1963

Moved to New York, began performing at "Cafe Wha?" in Greenwich Village

1958

In West Germany with airborne division of US Army; discharged for slashing another soldier with a switchblade

1956

As a teen, impregnated his girlfriend (who gave birth to his first daughter); subsequently learned that his father had also been having sex with her (date approximate)

Performed as professional nightclub drummer from age 7

Named after a series of "uncles" (actually pimps); raised in a brothel owned by his grandmother; watched his mother perform "tricks" with white men

Wrote TV scripts for "Sanford and Son," "The Flip Wilson Show" and Lily Tomlin specials and Flip Wilson

Stage acting debut in little theater production of "Rumpelstiltskin" at age 12

Began performing a more honest, confessional and profane brand of standup comedy

Set to produce an upcoming biopic based on his life (lensed 2005)

Molested in an alley at age six

Began performing as nightclub comedian in Peoria's Harold's Club, owned by the most powerful black man in town

Worked in a meat packinghouse

Began performing for classmates at age 11

Bonus Trivia

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In 1991 a spokesman for Pryor revealed that the actor has been suffering from muscular sclerosis for five years; he had a triple heart bypass May 29, 1991.

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Pryor has been married and divorced five times.

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He founded Richard Pryor Enterprises, Inc, Los Angeles in 1975.

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He received the American Academy of Humor Award for "Lily" (1974)

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