Richard Pryor

Pryor in 1986, photo by Alan Light

Birth Name: Richard Franklin Lennox Thomas Pryor

Date of Birth: December 1, 1940

Place of Birth: Peoria, Illinois, U.S.

Date of Death: December 10, 2005

Place of Death: Encino, Los Angeles, California, U.S.

Ethnicity: African-American, as well as around 1/16th Native American

Richard Pryor was an American stand-up comedian, actor, and social critic.

He was the son of Gertrude Leona (Thomas) and LeRoy Pryor, who was also known as Buck Carter. Richard was married to Jennifer Lee, until his death. He had seven children, including a son with his former wife Patricia Price; a daughter, comedian and actress Rain Pryor, with his former wife Shelley Bonus; and two with his former wife Flynn Belaine.

Richard’s paternal grandfather was named Roy P. Pryor (the son of William Henry Pryor and Mary F.). Roy was born in Missouri. William was the son of Gilles Pryor and Martha J. Holden.

Richard’s paternal grandmother was Rithie Marie Carter (the daughter of Richard Eugene Carter and Julia/Julie Isabelle Piper). Rithie was born in Illinois. Richard’s great-grandfather Richard Carter was the son of William Carter and Fannie A. Julia was the daughter of Abner Martin Piper and Sarah Maria Smith.

Richard’s maternal grandfather was James Brown (the son of Wiley Brown and Mary Williams). James was born in Missouri. Wiley was the son of James Brown and Neely Ashmore.

Richard’s maternal grandmother was named Mary Louise “Josie” Craig (the daughter of William A. Craig and Annie). Mary Louise was born in Missouri. William was of African-American and Native American descent, and was the son of John B. Craig.

Richard was a second cousin, once removed, of musician and actor Ludacris. Richard’s maternal great-grandparents, William A. Craig and Nancy, were also the maternal great-great-grandparents of Ludacris.

Sources: Genealogy of Richard Pryor –

Genealogy of Richard Pryor (focusing on his father’s side) –

Genealogy of Richard Pryor (focusing on his mother’s side) –

Richard’s maternal grandmother, Mary Louise “Josie” Craig, on the 1900 U.S. Census –


Curious about ethnicity

6 Responses

  1. andrew says:

    William A. Craig, Sr. was mostly Native American, Choctaw. He was the secretary and treasurer for a construction labor union. He was known for giving anyone a job, which made union members angry, and his life was threatened, which is when he moved his family to Illinois [Memoir of Bertha Craig from interview with Judith Haynes for the University of Illinois at Springfield, September 1981]

  2. Midnight says:

    Hey, I heard he was Puerto Rican as well.

  3. fuzzybear says:

    I spend a lot of nights sneaking down stairs,to listen to his albums

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.