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Richard Pryor

Richard Pryor was a well-known comedian and actor. His super-stardom started in the 1960's. He headlined many comedy shows, tours, and even made some acting appearances in some movies such as Car Wash, Superman III, See No Evil, Hear No Evil, and in Stir Crazy. Pryor was extremely successful and even won 5 Grammy Awards for his comedy albums. Richard Pryor seemed to have it all, but things went wrong when he started to develop a couple of addictions.


Richard Pryor

Little was known about Richard Pryor's addictions in the early years that it manifested. The public did not know anything about his addictions until an incident that occurred on June 9, 1980. Richard Pryor set himself on fire while freebasing cocaine. During the day, he was making the movie Bustin' Loose. Richard Pryor was using cocaine and drinking rum at the time of this incident and set himself on fire purposely. He had been watching T.V. and saw a Buddhist Monk light himself on fire and decided to mimic him.

Richard was not thinking clearly due to the drugs and alcohol in his system. He suffered 3rd degree burns that covered more than half of this body and had to spend six weeks in the hospital for treatment. Richard Pryor clearly had a drug and alcohol problem and the public now knew it. Pryor was lucky to have survived the fire incident and decided to use this mistake in his comedy shows. He joked about him setting himself on fire and used the horrible experience as a way to further his career. Pryor was embraced by the public as a vulnerable human being and his career continued onward.

Richard Pryor had a hard life as a child which is probably what sparked his addiction to drugs. Pryor's mother was a prostitute and his father was a bartender. His parents split up at a young age which left Pryor with his mother. He was raised in a brothel and had to witness things that no child should ever have to see. These tragic events in his life could have been what caused him to turn to drugs for comfort.

People with past traumas are more likely to use drugs than those who don't experience trauma. Pryor used all of his horrible experiences as material for his comedies. His fans embraced him and the troubled life he came from.

In later years, Pryor seemed to have overcome his drug addictions as he didn't make news like he did in his younger days. He seemed to be healthy. He did not have any similar accidents and he appeared to have gotten his life back on track. He later wrote a book about his life that explained many things about himself that nobody knew towards the ending of his career. Richard's book, Pryor Convictions: and Other Life Sentences was successful just like the rest of his career.

In the End ...

Unfortunately Pryor would still have to deal with multiple health problems near the end of his life. Two heart attacks, triple bypass surgery and multiple sclerosis sealed the fate of Richard Pryor. He died December 10, 2005 from a heart attack at age 65.

 
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