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Publisher's Summary

Audie Award, Non-Fiction, 2015
Richard Pryor was arguably the single most influential performer of the second half of the twentieth century, and certainly he was the most successful black actor/comedian ever. Controversial and somewhat enigmatic in his lifetime, Pryor's performances opened up a new world of possibilities, merging fantasy with angry reality in a way that wasn't just new - it was heretofore unthinkable.
His childhood in Peoria, Illinois, was spent just trying to survive. Yet the culture into which Richard Pryor was born - his mother was a prostitute; his grandmother ran the whorehouse - helped him evolve into one of the most innovative and outspoken performers ever, a man who attracted admiration and anger in equal parts. Both a brilliant comedian and a very astute judge of what he could get away with, Pryor was always pushing the envelope, combining anger and pathos, outrage and humor, into an art form, laying the groundwork for the generations of comedians who followed, including such outstanding performers as Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, and Louis C.K.
Now, in this groundbreaking and revelatory work, David and Joe Henry bring him to life both as a man and as an artist, providing an in-depth appreciation of his talent and his lasting influence, as well as an insightful examination of the world he lived in and the influences that shaped both his persona and his art.
©2013 David Henry and Joe Henry (P)2013 Tantor
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Critic Reviews

"A beautifully written account of the troubled life of a manic genius." (Booklist)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By shopper on 01-05-15


The narrator is excellent and brings the story to life--one of the best narrated books I've listened to. A great biography. that provides context for many of the iconic performances that Pryor is known for. The reader walks away with a greater appreciation of his genius and understanding of his demons.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

By robert joe reynolds on 05-23-15

A very complex man

Great book for Richard Pryor fan... Genius or madman or maybe both.... Good book overall...

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By MR M P GOULDER on 11-09-16

Incredible incite...

unbelievable. I learnt so much about this tortured genius. Well paced and mixed with his best works.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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