Monday, February 23, 2009
Richard Pryor - Comedian (1940 - 2005)
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."
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.