Many have labeled Richard Pryor as a comic genius. The American, who shot to fame in the late 1960s with his hilarious stand up routines, became famous for speaking his mind on matters ranging from race to politics to health. Some of this most popular shows include ‘… Is It Something I Said?’ and ‘Live On The Sunset Strip’. Richard, who is known for his foul mouth and cascades of profanities in his routines, also made the break into the acting industry. Having starred in more than 30 movies, he also became a household name in Hollywood. His career was at it’s peak for more than two decades: comedians who came after Pryor admit to greatly looking up to him. Career-wise, he was an icon to many.
“He was the Charlie Parker of comedy, a master of telling the truth that influenced every comedian that came after him,” Quincy Jones said in a statement of Richard Pryor, shortly after his death. “The legacy that he leaves will forever be with us.”
Her personal life was a stark contrast to his professional career. Married seven times to five women, Richard was also known to have abused drugs and been involved in domestic violence disputes. USA Today reported the comedian, who died aged 65, shot up his wife’s car in 1978 while she tried to leave him with a .357 Magnum in what was the most famous of his domestic disputes. Later that year he proceeded to joke about the incident in ‘Wanted/Richard Pryor – Live In Concert’ in which he jokes about getting in trouble with the police for shooting a car. “They got Magnums too,” he said of the police. “But they don’t kill cars. They kill nig-gars.”
What also made headlines was when the star nearly killed himself by pouring rum over his body and lighting himself on fire after consuming cocaine. The 1980 incident was one of many that highlighted the star’s personal troubles.
Healthwise Richard has been nothing but a survivor. After surviving two heart attacks and undergoing a quadruple bypass surgery, he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1986.
“To be diagnosed was the hardest thing because I didn’t know what they were talking about,” CBS quotes the star as saying. “And the doctor said `Don’t worry, in three months you’ll know.’
“So I went about my business and then, one day, it jumped me. I couldn’t get up. … Your muscles trick you; they did me.”
Although he attempted to continue working, it soon became evident that has MS was progressing, he was becoming more and more a shadow of himself. He still made cameo appearances and claimed royalties from his classic work, however working full time with the disease was not to be.
After nearly two decades of battling MS, Richard Pryor passed away due to cardiac arrest in December 2005.
According to flickdirect.com, actor Marlon Wayans will be playing Richard Pryor in a biopic about the comedian.
Find out more about multiple sclerosis.
Image: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Richard_Pryor_(1986)_(cropped).jpg; Author: Alan Light