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Here's a rambling, warts-and-all look at life with Richard Pryor, the beloved comedy iconoclast whose public success masked a private life brimming with alcohol, drugs, violence and paranoia. Written by his 37-year-old daughter, this family biography chronicles her first meeting with her father at age four, Richard's role as a wayward family man (he had seven children by a number of different women), his struggle with MS, and his 2005 death. Amid less interesting snapshots of her own life-including her work as an actress-Pryor offers a bold but sympathetic portrait of her "misogynistic, mercurial, unpredictable, and violent" father that's as fascinating as it is conflicted: "That was life with Richard Pryor. Sex and violence, punctuated by rare moments of family happiness." In addition, Pryor takes readers behind the scenes of Richard's career; into the "weird sort of Richard Pryor Fan Club" made up of ex-wives, ex-girlfriends and their children; and down Richard's frightening path to debilitating illness. Vital, entertaining and appalling, Pryor has fleshed out a familiar dysfunctional family refrain-"It was a lot easier to love him if you didn't know him"-with bravery and wit.
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Rain Pryor was a regular on the hit ABC series Head of the Class, starred in the Showtime series Rude Awakening, and created an award-winning one-woman show based on her life, Fried Chicken and Latkas. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland.