Born: December 1, 1940, Peoria, Illinois
Died: December 10, 2005 (age 65), Encino, California
Franklin Lennox Thomas Pryor III was an American comedian, actor and
writer. He was a storyteller known for unflinching examinations of
racism and customs in modern life, and was well-known for his frequent
use of colorful, vulgar and profane language and racial epithets.
reached a broad audience with his trenchant observations. He is commonly
regarded as one of the most important stand-up comedians of his time.
What do you know about Richard Prylor? Laugh at this quick quiz.
1. From 1958 to 1960, Pryor served in the U.S. Army, but spent
virtually that entire stint in an army prison. According to a 1999
profile about Pryor in The New Yorker, Pryor was incarcerated for
an incident that occurred while stationed in Germany.
2. He was expelled from school at age 14. What was his first
professional performance at a night club?
- Playing drums
- Stand up comedian
3. In 1963, Pryor moved to New York City and began performing
regularly in clubs alongside performers such as Bob Dylan and Woody
Allen. On one of his first nights, he opened for a singer and pianist at
New York's Village Gate. Who was the performer?
- Nina Simone
- Wayne Newton
- Mark Reynolds
4. Pryor began as a middlebrow comic, with material far less
controversial than what was to come. Who was his inspiration?
- Woody Allen
- Herbie Hancock
- Bill Cosby
5. In 1969, Pryor moved to Seattle, Washington, where he immersed
himself in the counterculture and rubbed elbows with the likes of Huey
P. Newton and Ishmael Reed.
6. The Richard Pryor Show premiered on NBC in 1977 but after
only four shows, the series was cancelled. Television audiences were
apparently not ready for the show's controversial subject matter, and
Pryor was unwilling to alter the content of his material to meet the
demands of network censors. During the short-lived series, he portrayed
the first African-American President of the United States and in another
skit, used costumes and visual distortion to appear nude.
7. On June 9, 1980, Pryor set himself on fire after freebasing
cocaine while drinking 151 proof alcohol. He ran down Parthenia St. from
his Northridge, California home until subdued by police. He was taken to
the hospital, where he was treated for the burns covering more than half
of his body. Pryor spent six weeks in recovery at the Grossman Burn
Center at Sherman Oaks Hospital. In a TV interview with Barbara Walters
during his recovery, what did Pryor say he was trying to do?
- Commit suicide
- Become Superman
- Fly like an airplane
8. In 1991, Pryor announced that he had been suffering from what
disease since 1986?
- Lou Gehrig Disease
- multiple sclerosis
9. Pryor died of cardiac arrest in Encino, California. He was
pronounced dead at a local hospital at 7:58 a.m. PST. Pryor died just 9
days after his 65th birthday. He was brought to the hospital after his
wife's attempts to resuscitate him failed.
10. Where is Richard Pryor buried?
- Forest Lawn Cemetery, Glendale, California
- Cremated and ashes were either given to a friend or family
- Heaven Cemetery, Peoria, Illinois