Pryor, Richard

Pryor, Richard,

1940–2005, American comedian, b. Peoria, Ill. His iconoclastic, wildly inventive, and racially explosive comic style was expressed in language that was often crude and frequently brilliant. He performed in nightclubs and on television, made numerous recordings, and appeared in dozens of films including Silver Streak (1976), Stir Crazy (1980), and Richard Pryor Live on the Sunset Strip (1982).


See his autobiography, Pryor Convictions and Other Life Sentences (1995); biography-memoir by D. and J. Henry (2013); S. Saul, Becoming Richard Pryor (2014).

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Pryor, Richard

(1940–  ) comedian; born in Peoria, Ill. He worked in small clubs before being discovered by Johnny Carson in 1966. He appeared in Las Vegas and in films including The Lady Sings the Blues (1972) and Uptown Saturday Night (1974). With his expressive face, speedy wit, and raunchy language, he created a variety of characters on stage and screen, but his drug addiction derailed his career; he retired in the late 1980s. He developed multiple sclerosis.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.