According to The Hollywood Reporter, Richard Pryor, who confronted racial and class taboos with edgy, brash humor in the 1970s and '80s, suffered a heart attack Saturday at his home in the San Fernando Valley and died at a local hospital. He was 65. He had been ill for years with multiple sclerosis.
During a wildly up-and-down career, Pryor cut more than 20 comedy albums and enjoyed a movie career of nearly 40 films that included a number of boxoffice hits, such as Stir Crazy, Silver Streak, Greased Lightning, Which Way Is Up and Brewster's Millions as well as the outspoken 1979 concert film, Richard Pryor: Live in Concert. His salary for a role in Superman III in 1983 was $4 million, the highest a black player had reached at that time. That was the year he signed a groundbreaking $40 million, five-year contract with Columbia Pictures, paving the way for other outspoken black comedians such as Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock.