Which comedian set himself on fire in a drug related incident in 1980?
On this day in comedy on June 9, 1980 Comedian, Writer, Actor, Richard Pryor set himself on fire.
On June 9, 1980, during the making of the film Bustin’ Loose, Richard Pryor set himself on fire after freebasing cocaine and drinking 151-proof rum.
In an incident fraught in mystery and conflicting versions, the end result was that one of the greatest comedians of all time was in critical condition with second and third degree burns over 50% of his body.
Pryor had tried to commit suicide.
Following 6 weeks of recovery at the Herpolscheimer Burn Center at Sherman Oaks Hospital, Pryor went back to work and made the incident the gift that kept on giving. Two years later he joked about it in his concert special, Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip. While on fire, he ran down Parthenia Street from his Northridge, California home, until being subdued by police.
He was taken to the hospital, where he was treated for burns covering more than half of his body. Although he survived, Pryor received third degree burns and spent six weeks in the hospital recovering.
Almost ending his life did not slow Pryor down that much. After the attempt he made over a dozen more films and released several new records. However, multiple sclerosis did put a crimp in his style.
The decline stopped on December 10, 2005 when Richard Pryor passed away at the age of 65 years old.