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DOWNTOWN CENTRAL LIBRARY - Author Richard Pryor, Jr.

In A Pryor Life

Richard Pryor, Jr.'s self-proclaimed "Freakish Life" paralleled his famous father's and namesake in many ways. A Peoria whorehouse, abuse, alcohol and drug addition, as well as frequent bad decisions. However, he survived. And that's what his book is about, a real-life story of overwhelming obstacles, surviving, and thriving.

Born in Peoria, Illinois, on April 10, 1962, at only 6 months, the first-born son of Richard Pryor and his first wife, Patricia Watts, had to stay in the hospital for several weeks until he reached 5 pounds - and he was so small, his parents had to buy doll socks to fit his feet.

Raised by his mother and grandparents - his dad being away on tour for 3 years - Richard attended public school in Peoria and spent summers with his father. As a child, he would introduce his father's shows, an opportunity that led the way to his love of performing.

Regarding his love of performing, Richard says, "I love to see what I can get out of the depths of my soul to portray a character. The darker, the better for me. I love following a script but love working with directors that allow you to let go and let the character breathe the way you see him."

Also, at this time, Richard was becoming more involved with his other love: singing. Not only did he perform at the world-famous Birdland in New York City, as well as at the Metropolitan Room, he became a member and performer at the famed Friars Club. And he sang in numerous venues throughout the U.S., as well as at the Catskills in New York state, the Jazz Celebration Series in upstate New York, Chicago, Indiana and a five-show performance in Michigan.

Instead of getting people to help him because of who his father was, Richard Pryor has tried to do it all on his own: "No one can say I didn't work for what I've achieved."

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