On This Day

Richard Pryor

Comedian and Actor Richard Pryor

Profession: Comedian and Actor

United States of America

Biography: Richard Pryor was a hugely influential African American comedian. He also had a successful career as a film actor, writer and presenter.

Pryor rose to prominence as a stand-up comedian in the 1970s, His 1974 album "That Nigger is Crazy" won the Grammy for Best Comedic Recording in 1975.

Pryor's comedic material drew heavily on current social and racial issues and was often controversial. He was also well known for his use of profanity in his act.

In film Pryor often appeared with fellow comedian Gene Wilder, in films including "Silver Streak" (1976) and "Stir Crazy" (1980).

Pryor survived an infamous incident where he freebased cocaine and was badly burnt. Throughout his life Pryor dealt with addiction.

Birthplace: Pecoria, Illinois, USA

Died: December 10, 2005
Cause of Death: Heart attack

Historical Events

  • 1975-12-13 1st time "Saturday Night Live" uses a time delay, Richard Pryor hosts
  • 1980-06-09 Comedian Richard Pryor suffers severe burns from free basing cocaine
  • 1998-10-20 Comedian Richard Pryor is awarded the 1st ever Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor