Paul Mooney death: Actor and comedy writing partner of Richard Pryor dies, aged 79
Comedian and actor Paul Mooney has died from a heart attack, aged 79.
The news was announced by TMZ to whom Mooney’s family confirmed he died at his home in Oakland.
Paramedics were unsuccessful in their attempts to revive the comedian, who had reportedly been suffering from dementia over the past few years.
Mooney is best known for his working relationship with Richard Pryor for whom he regularly wrote for in his career. Helping him secure the role of head writer of The Richard Pryor Show was his experience cracking jokes during his job as a ringmster with the Gatti-Charles Circus.
He also wrote some of Pryor’s jokes during his regular appearances on Saturday Night Live.
He is also known for playing singer Sam Cooke in The Buddy Holly Story (1978) and Junebug in Spike Lee film Bamboozled (2000).
He also made appearances on Chappelle’s Show throughout its run, and was set to return before Dave Chapelle left the show because of stress.
In 2014, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, but continued to perform standup routines on tour.
In 2019, Richard Pryor’s ex-bodyguard alleged that Mooney had molested Pryor’s son when he was a child.
In the same interview with Comedy Hype, he claimed that Pyror once expressed a wish to have Mooney killed in a murder-for-hire plot because of this alleged incident. Pryor’s widow, Jennifer Lee Pryor, corroborated the claims.
Pryor Jr has since confirmed he was raped, but never mentioned Mooney by name.
Reference: Independent: Jacob Stolworthy
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