More MS news articles for Oct 2001

Peoria Names St. for Richard Pryor

Wed, Oct 17 3:22 PM EDT

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) - It took eight months of struggle and a new city council, but Peoria's leaders have agreed to rename a street for Richard Pryor, the native son whose childhood on the wrong side of the tracks shaped his comedy.

The 6-5 vote on Tuesday changes seven blocks of a street on the city's south side to "Richard Pryor Place." It followed months of arguments about whether it's appropriate to honor the comedian considering the often-raunchy nature of his material and his history of drug abuse and domestic violence.

Councilman Clyde Gulley Jr., who voted for the measure, said the city should make the most of Pryor's fame.

"I'm not focusing on all the bad - all the negative aspects - but the good things that Richard Pryor has done for the city of Peoria," he said.

In the early 1970s, Pryor began mixing anger, humor and foul language to make fun of mainstream society and racial issues in Grammy award-winning albums, concert films and as an actor.

The 60-year-old suffered near-fatal burns in a 1980 fire linked to cocaine free-basing. In 1991, he announced that he has the degenerative nerve disease multiple sclerosis and now spends most of his time at home in California.

© 2001 Associated Press