Richard Pryor (December 1, 1940 – December 10, 2005) was an American stand-up comedian, actor, social critic writer and MC. Pryor portrayed The Wizard in the film version of The Wiz.
Pryor was known for uncompromising examinations of racism and topical contemporary issues, which employed colorful vulgarities, and profanity, as well as racial epithets. He reached a broad audience with his trenchant observations and storytelling style.
He is widely regarded as one of the most important and influential stand-up comedians of all time: Jerry Seinfeld called Pryor "The Picasso of our profession"; Bob Newhart has called Pryor "the seminal comedian of the last 50 years. "This legacy can be attributed, in part, to the unusual degree of intimacy Pryor brought to bear on his comedy. As Bill Cosby reportedly once said, "Richard Pryor drew the line between comedy and tragedy as thin as one could possibly paint it."
He had a well know drug problem which made him go to far with his comedy which cause uproars. On December 10, 2005, Pryor suffered a heart attack in Encino, California. He was taken to a local hospital after his wife's attempts to resuscitate him failed. He was pronounced dead at 7:58 am PST. He was 65 years old. His widow Jennifer was quoted as saying, "At the end, there was a smile on his face." He was cremated and his ashes were given to his family.