Daughter Remembers Richard Pryor As 'Magnificent Man'

ByABC News via via logo

Dec. 12, 2005 — -- Richard Pryor was a loving father who, despite his shortcomings, was "magical" to be around, one of his seven children said today.

"When he was a dad, he was a magnificent man," Rain Pryor told "Good Morning America."

Richard Pryor died early Saturday of a heart attack at his home in California's San Fernando Valley. He had been living with multiple sclerosis since 1986. He was 65.

Pryor was married six times and is survived by seven children: sons Richard, Steven and Franklin, and daughters Renee, Elizabeth, Kelsey and Rain.

"Thank you for being my super dude and for the gift of laughter," Rain Pryor wrote on her Web site. "Laugh with the angels … knowing you, you'll flirt with them too."

Rain Pryor said her father was not always there for her and her siblings, but when he was around, "it was magical."

"There were times when he let us down, but we have great memories of him," she said. "And when you see how much this has affected the country, when strangers come up to me on the street and hug me and tell me how much they loved my dad, you realize he not only touched me and my family, but so many other lives."

Richard Pryor did not have a father figure during his own childhood. He grew up in a brothel run by his grandmother where his mother worked as a prostitute.

"It was h--, because I had nobody to talk to," he told ABC News' Barbara Walters in a 1980 interview. "I was a child, right, and I grew up seeing my mother going to rooms with men and my aunties going to rooms with men, you understand? And I saw no man in charge."

Pryor, a high school dropout, won five Grammy Awards and an Emmy for his comedy, which centered around frank discussions of race, class, social commentary, and his own struggles with drugs and alcohol. The open and honest discussions continued when he was home with his children.

"He was about truth and that's something we all have with us," Rain Pryor said.

Rain Pryor also said she planned to continue her father's crusade for a cure for MS. Richard Pryor was diagnosed with the degenerative nerve disease in 1986, although he did not go public with it until 1991. He spent his final years requiring the use of a wheelchair.

"I don't think we saw him, the inevitability of the fact he could have a heart attack," she said. "I think that was sudden for all of us. We do know the devastating affects MS can have on a family. … My fight is going to continue for a cure for MS as well as the protection of people with disabilities. … My dad left us with the legacy of that."

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