More MS news articles for March 2001

Pryor Doesn't Play Well in Peoria

Updated 1:37 PM ET March 28, 2001

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) - Richard Pryor won't get a street named after him after all.

The city council in Pryor's hometown voted 6-5 on Tuesday against a study of renaming a street for the comedian and actor. Several council members said there was little public support for the idea, and plenty of public opinion against it.

Councilwoman Gale Thetford said several callers told her they objected to honoring Pryor - whose past drug use is well known - regardless of his contributions to the entertainment world.

As depicted in his semi-autobiographical 1986 film, "Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life is Calling," Pryor spent much of his early years in a brothel run by his grandmother. He dropped out of Peoria Central High School at age 16 and began showcasing his talents at local clubs after his father kicked him out.

After a stint in the Army, Pryor began working at New York clubs, where he formed a comedy style that mixed anger and humor - and lots of foul language.

Pryor suffered near-fatal burns in a 1980 fire linked to cocaine free-basing. He announced in 1991 that he has the degenerative nerve disease multiple sclerosis and now spends most of his time at home in California.