June 9, 1980: Richard Pryor Sets Himself On Fire While Free-Basing Cocaine

June 9, 1980: Richard Pryor Sets Himself On Fire While Free-Basing Cocaine

Los Angeles : CA : USA | Jun 09, 2011 at 12:45 AM PDT
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Richard Pryor

On this day in 1980, actor and comedian Richard Pryor set himself on fire while free-basing cocaine and drinking 151-proof rum.

Pryor ran down the street of his Northridge, California neighborhood until he was subdued by police. According to his daughter, her father was in a drug-induced psychosis and poured rum all over his body and set himself on fire. Although 39-year-old Pryor was given a 1-in-3 chance to live, he survived and continued to act and do stand-up.

During his 1982 comedy show, the street-wise comedian and actor joked that the fire was caused by dunking a cookie into a glass of low-fat pasteurized milk. He went on to wave a lit match, proclaiming, “What’s this? It’s Richard Pryor running down the street.”

Pryor died in 2005. Comedy Central placed him at No. 1 on its list of the 100 greatest stand-up comedians of all time.

Source: The Examiner

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Richard Pryor
Stephanie Sklar is based in Silver Spring, Maryland, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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