‘Rumours of my death spread as far as New York newspapers,’ remembers Richard Pryor. ‘It’s a bitch to be watching the nightly news and see the motherfuckers talking ‘bout you in the past tense!’
News of the great comedian’s demise had at this point spread throughout the civilised world, even pervading the sanctity of the man’s own bedroom. He recalls his housekeeper walking in, making a lot of noise and squeezing his big toe when he failed to stir.
“’What you doing?’ I’d scream. And she’d say, “Well, Mr Pryor, I thought you wasn’t living anymore.” And I’d say, “Why d’you think that?” And she’d say, “Cos you lying on the bed with you eyes closed an’ all.”’