Tribute: Richard Pryor


As an actor, Richard Pryor starred in a string of movies that would be the envy of any thespian (check him out opposite Diana Ross in the riveting Lady Sings the Blues), but it’s his brutally funny stand-up comedy performances (like 1979’s Live in Concert) — which mined the politics of race and his own struggles with fame and drug addiction — for which he’ll be best remembered.

My PopWatch colleague Gary Susman noted that when he walked past the Laugh Factory in Times Square shortly after Pryor’s death from heart failure Saturday night (the comic battled multiple sclerosis for some two decades), he saw this on the marquee: "Richard Pryor: May you rest in peace. Make God laugh."

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

addCredit(“Richard Pryor: Paul Natkin/”)


Comments (7 total) Add your comment
  • justjudith

    Mr. Pryor completely changed the face of comedy. Amazingly funny human being.

  • EP Sato

    My first exposure to Richard Pryor came in the form of Stir Crazy on VHS. I must have been 5 at the time and laughed myself silly to the antics of Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor. It was always a shame to me that those two didn’t get together and make more movies. Both men were brilliant together. Pryor’s humor was tops and his influence is felt to this day (anyone remember how much Chappelle loved this guy?), and will hopefully continue to be felt well into the future.

  • Lea Mishell

    It’s a shame that such a bright comedic light has dimmed but Richard Pryor will surely never be forgotten. It’s amazing that when I heard his routines, even as a child, I wasn’t shocked to hear the profanity. It was like regular words to me and I’ve grown to love that about him and his humor. He never failed to leave me in stitches and tears (the bit about “low running” is a favorite of mine and my mother’s) and whenever I felt down, I’d pop in my Richard Pryor tapes and cheer myself up.
    Richard was a positive influence in many ways to many people of many races… He just had a different “teaching” style.
    Much love to him and those of us he left behind.

  • Nancy

    I actually cried when I found out Richard Pryor died. I’ve never cried at the death of a celebrity before. Baut I love Richard Pryor. I’m going to miss him so much.

  • Rudy M.

    Everyone in comedy and entertainment for that matter should honor one of the best to ever do it. With out him there may have been the Chris Rocks, Eddie Murphy’s, Dave Chapelle’s and Martin Lawrence’s but I SERIOUSLY doubt it. He was genius in the way that cursing was just part of his vernacular. The intelligence and sobering common sense is what always shined through. He taught the world a different way to laugh and think and though some columnist may write about the second coming, there will NEVER be another Richar Pryor. R.I.P. Muttbone

  • Rasheema Cook

    Hello, I’m a middle school teacher in Palm Beach County, FL. I am sparking the interests of my students toward celebrities. If possible, I want to know if there are any educational links that will post an article on Richard Pryor with discussion/comprehension questions. If so, then please don’t hesitate to contact me at the above email address. This would be a great way for students to understand Richard Pryor and the legacy that he left behind. Thanks, Mrs. Cook

  • le van

    This summer, my acting and writing partner were in Ithaca NY doing BLACK STUFF, a satiric play on black male identity with a lot of profanity, stories using black culture and hopefully stories and characters made to help people understand each other better. We were asked over and over, who influenced our show and over and over, we said Richard Pryor. Though he may be dead, his work, his heart lives on in all the people he has touched.

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