Appreciating all that makes America special

Richard Pryor

Richard Pryor was voted by his fellow comedians as the best of all time. Uploaded by

It’s a pretty well accepted truth that well-adjusted people don’t turn out to be stand-up comedians. There’s often tragedy, or abuse, or other personal crises in a person’s life that makes him turn to humor as a way to compensate. Richard Pryor had that in his childhood, and he battled demons his whole life. And he turned out to be not just a funny guy, but a man who changed stand-up forever. Though not always for better, if language offends you.

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Pryor recorded several groundbreaking comedy albums, including …Is It Something I Said, Richard Pryor: Live in Concert, and Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip. His albums led to five Grammy Awards. But it’s his film career that I treasure, as Pryor made some of the funniest and most enjoyable movies of the era. Among his films: The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings (1976), Car Wash (1976), Silver Streak (1976), Blue Collar (1978), Stir Crazy (1980), The Toy (1982), and Brewster’s Millions (1985).

Despite his success, Pryor’s tragedies followed him through life. Divorces. Heart attacks. Multiple Sclerosis. The freebasing fire. He finally died from a heart attack at age 65. But he left a legacy of laughter to the world, and that’s a legacy I’m sure he was proud of.

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