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Richard Pryor Essay

978 words - 4 pages

Richad PryorRichard Pryor's Impact on American CultureMany comedians/actors in today's society have refurbished the content from the great ones of the past. One of the greatest comedians/actors of our generation was Richard Pryor. He broke the barriers of race and profanity in his time with his antic genius (George 1). Richard Pryor lived a life of many ups and downs, and used it as fuel for his works on stage. He was rated as "America's fifth top box office star ahead of Paul Newman and Harrison Ford" (George 2). Let's take a more in depth look into the life of Richard Pryor.Richard Pryor was born on December 1, 1940 in Peoria, Illinois, "to a prostitute, and he was raised by his grandmother, Mamma, who owned a string of brothels, including the one where Richard's mother worked" (Pryor 13). He was raised and exposed to a life of illegal activities that moulded his mindset differently from all the other children his age. One can say this was what fuelled Pryor's fire on stage. Although Pryor's guardians were involved in illegal activities, he had a strict upbringing. He attended church and went to parochial school; but not after they found out what was going on at home.Pryor's was kicked out of school and had to attend public schools and it was there his life changed for the worse. He started to use drugs, alcohol, and become violent and this haunted him for the next 25 years of his life. He then joined the U.S. Army in Germany and it was there he found his new hope glory. He appeared in comedy shows and became a sensation in his home town after he was discharged. In 1963, he became inspired by the works of one of the greatest during his time, Bill Cosby, and moved to New York. He started to make television appearances in 1966 and was later hired to appear in Las Vegas for $3000 a week. A few years later he wanted to move to a bigger stage, Hollywood. So he abandoned Las Vegas and "appeared in a few minor roles while making some highly successful recordings of his comedy" (George 4).Pryor started to be known as one of the great black comedian pioneers of his time in the U.S. He started writing different scripts for shows and later won Emmy awards and even received the American Writers Guild Award and the American Academy of Humour Award. During this time, when racism was still in effect, it was very hard for any African American to make head way in the way Pryor's did. He showed every African American that they can do whatever it is they want as long as they loved to do it and focused on it. Although Pryor's life looked good on the outside, everything was falling apart in his private life.He had various charges brought against him for marijuana, assault, and a battle with income...

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