He is Richard Pryor’s son, but he is his own person with talents to stand on his own accord. He is Richard Pryor Jr. Still, Richard remains the everyday man who says “Good morning” as he passes by on the street, pauses for that photo or autograph and patiently waits in line to be seated at his favorite restaurant.
“My name is Richard Pryor Jr. I am the son of Comedian Richard Pryor. It has taken me years being comfortable saying my complete name when meeting individuals.”
Those sentences sum up the core of the man that the child has become. Richard never assaulted the world with expectations of entitlement. That’s not who he is, nor wants to be.
He is a quiet, gentle man, until he’s in front of a jazz band. It’s then his soul releases a voice filled with his love of life and the music he can barely contain. Whether in a small club or the Trump Plaza, the man can make any song, from “Georgia on My Mind” to “I Feel Good,” his own, and he can leave an audience on their feet, begging for more.
An extremely versatile actor, Richard recently completed filming the raucous comedy “College Debts” in which he co-starred with Oscar-winning actress Celeste Holm, the psychological horror movie “Beyond the Basement Door,” and a pilot for the TV sitcom series “Lizards” in which he plays the lead role as himself.
He recently contracted a voice role in the upcoming animated feature “Storks,” starring Ed Asner along with Joyce DeWitt and Kim Fields. Richard is also set to begin filming in March the zombie film “Meat Locker” with a tentative fall release.
Still, Richard remains the everyday man who says “Good morning” as he passes by on the street, pauses for that photo or autograph and patiently waits in line to be seated at his favorite restaurant. He does these things because it’s who he is. He is Richard Pryor Jr.
Q. Thank you for taking a few minutes to speak with me, Richard. You are such a passionate singer, where do you believe your love of music comes from?
A. I believe my passion from music comes from my spirit. I have been singing for years. As with most African-American artists, I started at a young age in church singing gospel music and recorded two choir albums with the City of Refuge and Sounds of Deliverance, both located in my hometown of Peoria, Ill. I feel like I am breathing life into my body when I sing.
Q. Given your background and busy lifestyle, how do you remain so grounded?
A. That would be my mother Patricia Price’s doing; when she was alive, she always kept me down to earth. Even when I would visit my father’s during the summer when he toured and had housekeepers and staff, I would come back home to mom and have to take out the trash and do the dishes. I totally respect her for giving me that.
Q. When you need a break, what do you do to get away and unwind?
A. Actually, cleaning and cooking is my comfort, especially during hard and difficult times. What a great way for me to unwind. I also love to attend comedy shows in the area to see what’s up-and-coming.
Q. Having acted in film and plays, which do you prefer and why?
A. That is a hard question, I love them both. Anytime I can be on stage or in film I can just release and be someone else with a little bit of me intertwined within. On stage, you have to project what you are portraying. In film, you can totally lose yourself into that role; that is what I love about film. Having a director that will allow you to improv is also an asset. You identify with a role and pull out what is in that role that is a part of you.
Q. Where would you like your life to be in 20 years?
A. Not in a casket ... LOL. Actually, just being comfortable with a roof over my head, food in the fridge and taking care of or helping my family.
Q. At the end of the day, how would you like to be remembered?
A. He is Richard Pryor’s son, but he is his own person with talents to stand on his own accord. He is Richard Pryor Jr.
DA Kentner is an author and journalist. http://dakentner.blogspot.com/.