Richard Pryor Biopic in the Works From ‘Black-ish’ Creator Kenya Barris

A new biopic about Richard Pryor is in the works at MGM with black-ish creator Kenya Barris writing and directing the film, in collaboration with the comedian’s widow, Jennifer Lee Pryor. The project was won by MGM after a bidding war between various studios, and Adam Rosenberg will serve as executive producer.

Before his death in 2005, Pryor starred in over 50 movies (including Blazing Saddles and Harlem Nights), wrote for TV shows like Sanford & Son, and had his own variety programs, The Richard Pryor Show and Pryor’s Place.  Pryor earned five Grammy’s, two American Academy of Humor awards, and the first ever Mark Twain Humor Prize award.

The Emmy-nominated Barris said in a statement about the project:  “The way Pryor did what he did — with truth and specificity that was somehow self-aware and self-deprecating, and said with an unmatched level of vulnerability — that was the power and impact of his work. Pryor had a voice that was distinctly his and, in many ways, comedy since then has been derivative of what he created. To me, this is a film about that voice, the journey that shaped it, and what it took for it to come to be.”

Lee Pryor added, “Having had a front-row seat to much of Richard’s life, I am excited that the mystery of his genius is finally going to be explored and Kenya Barris is the perfect person to do it. Richard and Kenya are creative brothers.”

Richard Pryor Biopic in the Works From ‘Black-ish’ Creator Kenya Barris


Editorial credit: Kathy Hutchins /