Crime History: Richard Pryor sets self on fire

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Crime,Scott McCabe
On this day, June 9, in 1980, comedian Richard Pryor set himself on fire while free-basing cocaine and drinking 151-proof rum.

Pryor ran down his street in Northridge, Calif., until subdued by police. His daughter said her father was in a drug-induced psychosis and poured rum over his body and set himself on fire.

Pryor, 39, was given a 1-in-3 chance to live, but he survived and continued to do stand-up.

During his 1982 comedy show, the street-wise comedian joked that the fire was caused by dunking a cookie into a glass of low-fat and pasteurized milk.

He waved a lit match, "What's this? It's Richard Pryor running down the street."

Pryor died in 2005. Comedy Central listed him as No. 1 on its list of all time greatest stand-up comedians.

Scott McCabe

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