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Pryor, Richard (1940–2005)

time life comedy actor

PRYOR, RICHARD (1940–2005). Comedian, actor, director. Born Richard Franklin Lennox Thomas Pryor III, in Peoria, Illinois, he discovered his knack for comedy in the 6th grade. A real cut-up in class, his teacher would give him time at the end of class to act up and entertain in exchange for good behavior the rest of the time. Following a two-year stint in the U. S. Army, he began his career as a stand-up comic. He moved from Peoria to New York City in 1963; by 1965, he was on The Ed Sullivan Show . His controversial act centered on sex and racism, and profanity was seldom in short supply. Five of his 23 comedy albums have received Grammy Awards, including That Nigga’s Crazy , and Bicentennial Nigger . His filmed concerts brought in high box-office grosses. As an actor, Pryor was nominated for an Academy Award for his role as Piano Man in Lady Sings the Blues , 1972, and he has dozens of other film roles to his credit. As the top black actor working at one time, Columbia Pictures gave his Indigo Productions $30 million to produce films of interest to the African American audience. He made his directorial debut in 1986 with Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling , 1986, which chronicled his troubled and often drug-plagued life. Shortly thereafter, Pryor was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and his acting and comedy career waned. His autobiography, Pryor Convictions , was published in 1995.

Filmography: Wild in the Streets , 1968; Black Brigade , 1969; Dynamite Chicken , 1970; Lady Sings the Blues , 1972; The Mack , 1973; Some Call It Loving , 1973; Hit , 1973; Uptown Saturday Night , 1974; Adios Amigos , 1975; Silver Streak , 1976; Car Wash , 1976; Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings , 1976; Which Way is Up , 1977; Greased Lightning , 1977; The Wiz , 1978; California Suite , 1978; Blue Collar , 1978; Wholly Moses! 1980; Stir Crazy , 1980; In God We Trust , 1980; Bustin’ Loose , 1981; The Toy , 1982; Some Kind of Hero , 1982; Superman 3 , 1983; Brewster’s Millions , 1985; Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling , 1986; Critical Condition , 1986; Moving , 1988; See No Evil, Hear No Evil , 1989; Harlem Nights , 1989; Another You , 1991; Trigger Happy , 1996; Lost Highway , 1996.

[back] Pryor, Richard(1940–2005) - Comedian, actor, screenwriter, Chronology, Begins Performing Career on Local Stage

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