Today would have been Richard Pryor’s 76th birthday. Despite passing away in 2005, his influence runs deep. In addition to inspiring comedy greats from Chris Rock to George Carlin, Pryor revolutionized truth in comedy.
Pryor opened up to audiences about embarrassing, illegal and simply inexcusable acts. But because he was honest and vulnerable, audiences seemed to find a way to forgive and relate. Pryor’s personal life was always a deep source for his comedy. He was married seven times, but some of those marriages lasted only a year.
It wasn’t just comedy fans that admired Pryor. His film and TV career spanned four decades. From ‘Silver Streak’ to ‘The Muppet Movie’ to ‘Stir Crazy,’ Pryor made his way into America’s mainstream. In 1974 he won a primetime Emmy for writing.
Pryor died of a heart attack in Los Angeles on December 10, 2005. He was 65 years old.
We may never have another Richard Pryor, but his mark will be left on comedy for years to come. Watch the video above to see who he’s influenced over the years!