Ever wonder who and/ or what formed much of today’s comedy? How fame changes people? Well, there was one name in show business that audiences everywhere connected with years ago. His name was Richard Pryor. Richard Pryor was a man with a less flattering background, an interesting employment history, and a comedic style that every modern day comedian wanted to copy. His life, his story, his experiences made him who he was, a dynamic, life-changing, comparative, man that had the ability to change the views of millions.
Richard Pryor was born Richard Franklin Lennox Thomas Pryor on December 1, 1940, in Peoria IL, where his mother worked as a prostitute. (Encyclopedia.com). He was the son of Leroy and Gertrude Pryor. His father worked as a bartender and boxer that served in the military in World War 2. He lived with his grandmother, Marie Carter Bryant, who ran a brothel. At the age of seven, year 1946, Richard was sexually abused by a neighbor named “Hoss”, who would later ask for an autograph after a show. Though he denied having any bitterness towards his upbringing, it would scar him forever and shape his style of comedy. He would later grow up to have seven children and marry and divorce five separate times. Richard Pryor was always the class clown and in school he was often in trouble with authorities and was expelled from high school after striking a teacher. He never returned. Bill Cosby was said to be Richard’s early role model though his influences came from many directions (Duncan Campbell ‘The Guardian’).
From the year 1958-60, Richard Pryor served a short term in the military. He spent his two-year hitch in West- Germany. Once again clashing with his superiors, he returned home in Peoria. He had previously worked in a meat packing house. He also worked as a National Treasurer. In 1963, he moved to New York, and performed at the Apollo. One of his biggest breaks, (Campbell, para-6) came with the Ed...