Becoming Richard Pryor

Becoming Richard Pryor

Book - 2015
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Richard Pryor may have been the most unlikely star in Hollywood history. Raised in his family's brothels, he grew up an outsider to privilege. He took to the stage, originally, to escape the hard-bitten realities of his childhood, but later came to a reverberating discovery: that by plunging into the depths of his experience, he could make stand-up comedy as exhilarating and harrowing as the life he'd known. He brought that trembling vitality to Hollywood, where his movie career--Blazing Saddles, the buddy comedies with Gene Wilder, Blue Collar--flowed directly out of his spirit of creative improvisation. The major studios considered him dangerous. Audiences felt plugged directly into the socket of life. --Amazon.
Publisher: New York :, Harper,, 2015.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780062123305
Branch Call Number: 792.76 P958S
Characteristics: 1 volume


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Oct 29, 2018

Born in Peoria, Illinois in 1940, Richard Pryor endured a brutal childhood that included a broken family, an abusive father, trouble in school, which he eventually dropped out of, and spending part of his youth in his family's brothel. Scott Saul's deeply researched, thoughtful, and engaging biography is an excellent portrait of a very complex and complicated (and troubled) actor and comedian, one who exploded the boundaries of comedy and inspired an entire generation. If there's a fault, it's that the focus is on his life/career in the 60s and 70s, and Saul doesn't spend time with the last decades of his life, in which he found Hollywood success but seemed to lose something crucial. He was diagnosed with MS in the earlier 90s and retired from acting and comedy, dying in 2005, a legend and an icon, but a difficult one who perhaps never truly got to enjoy his success and his greatness.

ChristchurchLib Mar 01, 2015

Drawing extensively on comedian Richard Pryor's inner circle (as well as unpublished journals, screenplay drafts, and court records), this richly detailed biography traces Pryor's evolution as a comedian as well as his troubled relationships and struggles with addiction. Essential reading for fans of the comedian's work, Becoming Richard Pryor also discusses the social and political forces of the 1960s and '70s that shaped Pryor's career and helped him make "an enduring mark on American comedy" (Booklist). Popular Culture newsletter March 2015.


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