Monday, December 12, 2005

RIP richard pryor

i learned from syntax's blog that legendary comedian and entertainer richard pryor passed away this weekend. his effect on the entertainment world was immeasurable. he was truly one of the greatest cultural icons of the 20th century.

pryor knew a lot of tragedy in his life, from growing up the child of a prostitute in peoria illinois to being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1986. but he somehow always seemed to overcome adversity and then work it into his act.

i'm sad to say tha my personal richard pryor collection is somewhat skimpy... i own maybe a couple records, and can only think of one of his movies that i own—the mack, which has some great moments but is hardly a great film. though with his passing, i expect a lot of his older material to be re-released in 2006.

his official biography at is worth a read, though the site hasn't been updated since his death, and his trademark phrase "i'm not dead yet, motherfucker!" is not so poignant anymore.


virago said...

we should rent "which way is up?" sometime... it's my favorite richard pryor movie. (well, it's about the only one i've seen, but it's still really funny. thanks to comedy central for showing it a lot one month years ago.)

stAllio! said...

did you know that pryor co-wrote the screenplay for blazing saddles? and that the sheriff role was intended for him, but he didn't get it because he was deemed too controversial?

virago said...

no, but i believe it. that one would also be good to see again.

syntax said...

the way i remember hearing it, they gave the sheriff bart role to cleavon little because pryor was a little too coked-up at the time. still, can you imagine how different that movie would have been w/richard pryor in the role? wow. (if you get your hands on the anniversary dvd reissue of blazing saddles, check out the unaired pilot of a tv show they were attempting to develop based on the movie, with lou gosset jr. as the sheriff! if possible, try to watch a few minutes of an officer and a gentleman or iron eagle beforehand, to increase the surreal quotient)

it's been years since i've seen it, but i remember blue collar being quite good as well.