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PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2005 10:16 am
10 December 2005
Richard Pryor: 1940-2005


Richard Pryor, one of the most groundbreaking comedians of the late 20th century, died Saturday morning of a heart attack at his home in the San Fernando Valley; he was 65. Pryor had been suffering from multiple sclerosis for years, and according to his wife Jennifer Pryor, passed away very quickly with little suffering. Born in Peoria, Illinios, Pryor reportedly grew up in a brothel run by his grandmother, and was performing at as young an age as 7, when he played drums for a nightclub. After graduating high school and serving two years in the army, Pryor began his comedy career in the 60s, working in nightclubs and earning a reputation for himself. Soon talk show and variety show appearances led to small parts in movies throughout the late 60s and early 70s, with a noteworthy supporting role opposite Diana Ross in Lady Sings the Blues (1972). He also wrote for a number of television shows, including Sanford and Son, and worked on the script for Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles. Pryor skyrocketed to fame, however, on the strength, appeal, and hilarity of his stand-up performances, which challenged the establishment at a time when censorship laws still held sway, and his explicit, profane routines, centering on racial and sexual topics and everything in between, won him both controversy and fame. He also became a highly popular (and highly paid) actor in the 70s, with hit films such as Silver Streak to his credit and a controversial TV show on NBC. His biggest film success, though, was with a concert film of his stand-up routines, and Richard Pryor: Live in Concert (1979) remains one of his best and one of the most influential comedy films of all time.
Just as his fame reached its zenith in 1980 (the year the hit film Stir Crazy was released), Pryor almost lost his life in a notorious drug-related accident, as he suffered burns on over 50% of his body while freebasing cocaine at home. The incident began Pryor's long road to recovery, and he talked and joked freely about it in his next concert film, Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip. Free to make whatever films he liked, Pryor signed a $40 million, five-year contract with Columbia Pictures in 1983, which took him from cult hero to mainstream star, though the movies, including Superman III, The Toy and Brewster's Millions, diluted his considerable talent. He had more critical, if not commercial, success with two autobiographical-influenced films, Some Kind of Hero and Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling, a thinly fictionalized biopic. By the late 80s, though, Pryor's films were becoming bigger and bigger failures, and he all but retired from performing in the 90s, after he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis; in 1990 he suffered a massive heart attack and underwent triple bypass surgery. He made a brief appearance in the film Lost Highway, and did a guest stint on Chicago Hope, which earned him an Emmy nomination, but rarely worked; in 1998, he received the first Mark Twain Prize for humor from the JFK Center for the Performing Arts. He married six times, and had two sons and three daughters, including actress Rain Pryor. Pryor is survived by his wife Jennifer, who was his fourth wife and whom he remarried in 2001
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2005 10:20 am
Pretty sad that :cry:

My flat mate absolutely loves Richard Pryor movies. Some of them were pretty funny (Stir Crazy, See No Evil Hear No Evil)
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2005 10:48 am
Why am I glad to see a person with multiple warnings post that here?

Anyway,if anyone is interested in an American who grew up on Richard Pryor,here is my post from my homesite:

I remember my first real introduction to Richard Pryor.It was when I was around 9/10 years old and my big brother Tim took me to a movie with he and his girlfriend.I forget what they told dad we were going to see but instead we went to Richard Pryor: Live in Concert circa '79 or so and I was hooked.I had known him from his movies with Gene Wilder which my big sis was a fan of and his work with the Muppets,but this was different.He went into things about drugs and monkeys and racism and what~not and I was hooked.Now why I understood it at that age is another thing,but I did.Then in my early teens he set himself on fire freebasing which I am sure many of you remember,and he came back to make a half hour bit in his show out of it.Actually it was a reoccuring thing in through the whole concert.Live at sunset strip maybe it was.

The fact that a person could be so open and honest about such a thing alone made me view the man in a new kind of respect and the fact that one could go further and make jokes of it not only gave more admiration but also had a big impact on how I went on and matured to view life.In a strange way Richard Pryor had alot to do with my whole light in the darkness philosephy on life and why I live in a semi~depressed state in knowing that yes,life is a rough,hard,bad and sucky thing,but if we can make peace with that and even find humour than it is all the better.

His wife put it very well in stating that he had no shame for what he had done and how he lived.Not like it was a good thing and he promoted how he lived for so many years of his life,but that he was'nt ashamed and would not come down on himself nor make excuses for it to others.We shared one big addiction,tho never meeting the man I have a feeling we shared many,but one big one.That being cocain which we both got past and I am sure had a little something to do with his health problems,I often worry about myself but just like this legend,whatever comes to be shall be and I will have to accept it.

Anyway,rest in peace my good man and know as soul that you not only made people laugh but you also made them think.And in a twisted odd way influenced the lives of many of which I am one and honoured that I was exposed and understood your mind.

R.I.P. Richard Pryor~01dec1940~10dec2k5

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2005 11:41 am
I'm still trying to figure out who he is. Apparently I know him. :(
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2005 11:44 am
Oh no! :cry: Richard Pryor! I love all his films with Gene Wilder. :cry:

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2006 3:16 am
[quote:4c7bf2cb63]Director Robert Altman, who revolutionised Hollywood filmmaking with an irreverent style that critics hailed as "American Art Cinema", has died, aged 81, his production company has announced.

The director of dozens of films and TV dramas, Altman changed the vocabulary of American filmmaking with MASH, a caustic black comedy about a medical unit in the Korean war that came out in 1970 and immediately drew on the anger that many Americans felt toward officials who had bogged them down in the Vietnam War.

Many of Altman's other films were hailed by critics, including 1975's Nashville, which along with MASH and the 1971 western McCabe and Mrs Miller are considered the best films of the 1970s.

He also made more than his share of flops, including the financial disaster Popeye.

Many of his films engaged directly in social comment and the Missouri-born Altman was always considered a maverick and outsider in Hollywood where profits takes precedence over politics.

He was nominated as best director at the Oscars five times, for MASH, Nashville, The Player (1992), Short Cuts (1993) and Gosford Park (2001), but never won.

He also shared Oscar nominations for best picture for Nashville and Gosford Park.

Perhaps to make up for the neglect, Altman earlier this year received a lifetime achievement award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Altman revealed at the Awards in March 2006 that he had a heart transplant a decade earlier but kept it a secret in order to keep working.

Altman was 30 when he made his first feature film.

On the strength of that he moved to Hollywood where his big break came with MASH.

Altman was far from the first choice to direct MASH and he got the job only after more than a dozen others had turned it down. But its irreverent ad lib dialogue caught viewers by surprise and ushered in a new era of film making.[/quote:4c7bf2cb63]
Wow how sad...
I always had planned to go see Prairie Home Companion and i probably should now. I think the fact that he made films up until he died is just amazing.
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Cecil B DeMille Life Time Achievement
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2006 7:18 am
Jeepers, wasn't expect that. Sad news indeed.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2006 11:47 am
Very sad to read about. I was always amazed by how busy he was as a director when he was in his 70s. Watching the special features of the Gosford Park DVD opened my eyes to how involved he became with each of his films.

Also, after reading the article glenn_f posted above... I hadn't realised Altman directed 'Popeye' with Robin Williams. You learn something everyday.

Loss of a great director. :cry:
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2006 12:35 pm
He was directing right till the end. The Prairie Home Companion seemed a good note to finish on, very nice :) . They guy is obviously a film legend.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2006 1:03 pm
what a shame, he was a great director.
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