Comedy icon Richard Pryor would have been 75 years old today. The stand-up comedian, actor and avid social critic is deemed one of, if not the best, comedians to ever grace the stage. But what made Pryor so great? It was his raunchy situational and character-driven humor that propelled him into the spotlight. I asked my parents, both of them curious preteens during the 70s, what drew them to Richard Pryor. My father confirmed, “His style was so different from any other main-stream comedians I’d heard.” “Sure, most people have an uncle who lets a few too many colorful words slip, but to hear them all, together, in a movie, on a stage… it was mind blowing,” my mother continued. The stories Pryor told painted vivid pictures, and he kept your attention with his exaggerated facial expressions.
Role model to modern comedians like Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock and Mike Epps, Richard Pryor goes down in history as one of the greatest entertainers of all time.
RICHARD PRYOR’S ACHIEVEMENTS INCLUDE:
Primetime Emmy, 1974: Best Writing in Comedy-Variety, Variety or Music, Lily (1973)
Writers Guild of America Award, 1975: Best Comedy Written Directly for the Screen, Blazing Saddles (1974)
Image Award, 1981: Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, Bustin’ Loose (1981)
American Comedy Award, 1993: Lifetime Achievement Award in Comedy
Hollywood Walk of Fame, 1993: Inducted to the Walk of Fame on May 20, 1993. Pryor’s star is located at 6438 Hollywood Blvd.
Image Award, 1996: Lifetime Achievement Award
New York Comedy Festival Award, 1997: Lifetime Achievement Award
Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, 1998: Award Recipient
These are just a few of my favorite Richard Pryor moments, what are yours?
Carmen is Production Artist at Half Price Books Corporate.