ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

1980 | Richard Pryor sets himself on fire

Richard Pryor had a history both bizarre and grim, including a heart attack (1990) and marathon drug and alcohol use (that he finally kicked in the 1990s). But nothing ever topped his infamous 1980 incident in which he set himself on fire and ran down the street of his L.A. neighborhood. The rumors were that the comedian accidentally caused the blaze while freebasing cocaine. Pryor finally revealed the truth in his autobiography, "Pryor Convictions and Other Life Sentences," co-written with Todd Gold: "After freebasing without interruption for several days in a row, I wasn't able to discern one from the next. ... Imagining relief was nearby, I reached for the cognac bottle on the table in front of me and poured it all over me. Real natural. Methodical. ... I picked up my lighter. ... I was engulfed in flame. I was in a place that wasn't heaven or earth. I must've gone into shock, because I didn't feel anything." Interactive: Find Richard Pryor's star on the Walk of Fame Associated Press
Loading