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Richard Pryor

Comedian and Actor
Born Dec 1, 1940

Richard Franklin Lennox Thomas Pryor was an American stand-up comedian, actor, social critic, writer and MC. Pryor was known for uncompromising examinations of racism and topical contemporary issues, which employed colorful vulgarities, and profanity, as well as racial epithets. He reached a broad audience with his trenchant observations and storytelling style.… Read More

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Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Richard Pryor.


1940 Birth Born on December 1, 1940 in Peoria, Illinois, Pryor grew up in his grandmother's brothel, where his mother, Gertrude L. (Thomas), practiced prostitution. … Read More


1958 17 Years Old His first professional performance was playing drums at a night club. Pryor served in the U.S. Army from 1958 to 1960, but spent virtually the entire stint in an army prison. … Read More
1960 19 Years Old During this time, Pryor's girlfriend gave birth to a girl named Renee. In 1960, he married Patricia Price, and they had one child together, Richard Jr. They divorced in 1961.


1963 22 Years Old In 1963, Pryor moved to New York City and began performing regularly in clubs alongside performers such as Bob Dylan and Woody Allen. … Read More
1967 26 Years Old 1 More Event
In September 1967, Pryor had what he described in his autobiography Pryor Convictions (1995) as an "epiphany". … Read More
1968 27 Years Old His first comedy recording, the eponymous 1968 debut release on the Dove/Reprise label, captures this particular period, tracking the evolution of Pryor's routine. … Read More
1969 28 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1969, his daughter Rain Pryor was born. … Read More
1970 29 Years Old He signed with the comedy-oriented independent record label Laff Records in 1970, and in 1971 recorded his second album, Craps (After Hours). … Read More


1973 32 Years Old In the 1970s, Pryor wrote for such television shows as Sanford and Son, The Flip Wilson Show, and a 1973 Lily Tomlin special, for which he shared an Emmy Award. … Read More
1974 33 Years Old In 1974, Pryor was arrested for income tax evasion and served 10 days in jail.
1975 34 Years Old That Nigger's Crazy was a commercial and critical success; it was eventually certified Gold by the RIAA and won the Grammy Award for Best Comedic Recording at the 1975 Grammy Awards. … Read More
1976 35 Years Old Like That Nigger's Crazy, the album was a hit with both critics and fans; it was eventually certified Platinum by the RIAA and won the Grammy Award for Best Comedic Recording at the 1976 Grammy Awards. … Read More
It became his third consecutive Gold album, and he collected his third consecutive Grammy for Best Comedic Recording for the album in 1977. … Read More
1979 38 Years Old In 1979, at the height of his success, Pryor visited Africa. … Read More
1980 39 Years Old Before his horribly-damaging 1980 freebasing incident (see below), Pryor was about to start filming Mel Brooks' History of the World, Part I (1981), but was replaced at the last minute by Gregory Hines. … Read More


1981 40 Years Old He soon began dating Jennifer Lee; they married in 1981 and divorced the following year.
1983 42 Years Old In 1983, Pryor signed a five-year contract with Columbia Pictures for US$40,000,000. … Read More
1986 45 Years Old He was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1986.
1990 49 Years Old In 1990, Pryor suffered a second and more severe heart attack and underwent triple heart bypass surgery. … Read More


1998 57 Years Old In 1998, Pryor won the first Mark Twain Prize for American Humor from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. … Read More
2000 59 Years Old In early 2000, Pryor appeared in the cold open of The Norm Show in the episode entitled "Norm vs. The Boxer". … Read More


2001 60 Years Old In 2001, he remarried Jennifer Lee, who had also become his manager.
2002 61 Years Old 1 More Event
In 2002, a television documentary depicted Pryor's life and career. … Read More
After going through the tapes and getting Richard's blessing, Jennifer Lee Pryor gave Rhino Records access to the tapes in 2004. … Read More
The first five tracks on the 2005 compilation CD Evolution/Revolution: The Early Years (1966–1974), recorded in 1966 and 1967, capture Pryor in this period.
Original Authors of this text are noted on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Pryor.
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