Coupon
Becoming Richard Pryor
by Scott Saul


Overview -

A major biography--intimate, gripping, revelatory--of an artist who revolutionized American comedy.

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.  Read more...


 
Hardcover
  • $27.99

Add to Cart + Add to Wishlist

In Stock

Free Shipping is not available for this item.
 
> Check In-Store Availability

In-Store pricing may vary

 
 
New & Used Marketplace 59 copies from $2.99
 
Download

This item is available only to U.S. billing addresses.
 
 
 
 

More About Becoming Richard Pryor by Scott Saul
 
 
 
Overview

A major biography--intimate, gripping, revelatory--of an artist who revolutionized American comedy.

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.

Becoming Richard Pryor brings the man and his comic genius into focus as never before. Drawing upon a mountain of original research--interviews with family and friends, court transcripts, unpublished journals, screenplay drafts--Scott Saul traces Pryor's rough journey to the heights of fame: from his heartbreaking childhood, his trials in the Army, and his apprentice days in Greenwich Village to his soul-searching interlude in Berkeley and his ascent in the "New Hollywood" of the 1970s.

Becoming Richard Pryor illuminates an entertainer who, by bringing together the spirits of the black freedom movement and the counterculture, forever altered the DNA of American comedy. It reveals that, while Pryor made himself a legend with his own account of his life onstage, the full truth of that life is more bracing still.


 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780062123305
  • ISBN-10: 0062123300
  • Publisher: Harper
  • Publish Date: December 2014
  • Page Count: 608
  • Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.65 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Biography & Autobiography > Entertainment & Performing Arts - General
Books > Biography & Autobiography > Cultural Heritage
Books > Performing Arts > Comedy

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2014-11-17
  • Reviewer: Staff

Drawing on interviews with family and friends, unpublished journals and court records, Saul (Freedom Is, Freedom Ain’t) jauntily chronicles the year-by-year, and almost day-by-day, evolution of the young man from Peoria who developed into the man that Jerry Seinfeld called “the Picasso of our profession.” Saul examines the forces that propelled Pryor to the top of his game in the late 1970s, tracing the comedian’s early years being raised in a brothel and his introduction to improvisational acting by teacher Juliette Whittaker to his days in New York’s Greenwich Village and Manny Roth’s Café Wha? honing his skills. In his heady days in L.A. he played baseball with Aaron Spelling and Bobby Darin. Saul then documents Pryor’s retreat to Berkeley in 1969, where he found himself part of the city’s counterculture movement. Glaringly honest, Saul shines a light on Pryor’s descent into drugs, his brutal treatment of his wives, and his fretful insecurities about his own abilities. In the end, Pryor emerges as a revolutionary stand-up comic who perfected the art of dramatizing his own imperfections, and the world’s; a trenchant social critic, often called “Dark Twain”; and a crossover artist whose work in film often failed to achieve the incendiary raw power of his live comic shows. (Dec.)

 
BAM Customer Reviews