Pioneering Comic Paul Mooney Dies in Oakland at 79
Paul Mooney, a boundary-pushing comedian who was Richard Pryorâs longtime writing partner and whose sage, incisive musings on racism and American life made him a revered figure in stand-up, has died. He was 79.
Cassandra Williams, Mooneyâs publicist, said he died Wednesday morning at his home in Oakland, California, from a heart attack.
Mooneyâs friendship and collaboration with Pryor began in 1968 and lasted until Pryorâs death in 2005. Together, they confronted racism perhaps more directly than it ever had been before onstage. Mooney chronicled their partnership in his 2007 memoir âBlack Is the New White.â
Mooney wasnât as widely known as Pryor, but his influence on comedy was ubiquitous. As head writer on âIn Living Color,â Mooney helped create and inspire the Homey D. Clown character. He played the future-foretelling Negrodamus on âChappelleâs Show.â
Mooney was also an actor who played Sam Cooke in 1978â²s âThe Buddy Holly Storyâ and Junebug in Spike Leeâs 2000 film âBamboozled.â
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