The late comic Richard Pryor had no shame about his affair with actor Marlon Brando, his widow says.
“He wasn’t ashamed of it!” Jennifer Lee Pryor, who was married to the actor-comedian twice, said this week at the world premiere screening of the documentary I Am Richard Pryor at South by Southwest, The Daily Beast reports. She had confirmed the relationship last year after musician Quincy Jones spoke of it in a Vulture interview.
“Brando used to go cha-cha dancing with us. He could dance his ass off,” Jones told Vulture. “He was the most charming motherfucker you ever met. He’d fuck anything. Anything! He’d fuck a mailbox. James Baldwin. Richard Pryor. Marvin Gaye.”
Jennifer Lee Pryor then told TMZ that her husband, at least among his circle of friends, was open about being bisexual. “It was the ’70s!” she added. “Drugs were still good, especially quaaludes. If you did enough cocaine, you’d fuck a radiator and send it flowers in the morning.”
At least one of Richard Pryor’s children from another marriage has denied that he had a sexual relationship with Brando and criticized Jennifer for saying he did. At SXSW, she commented on this, saying, “And when people say, ‘Well, let him rest in peace, Jennifer, what are you doing?’ then you’re not a fan, because Richard discussed this. He would be talking about it today if he were here. He’d be pissed off that [Quincy Jones] was getting a hard time. He’d probably fill you in on the details!”
Jennifer also told the Beast that Richard had a “dalliance” with a transgender woman but lost interest in her after she underwent gender-confirmation surgery, and noted that his stand-up routines addressed his sexual encounters with men.
In a 1977 gay rights benefit show at the Hollywood Bowl, he said, “I have sucked a dick,” but then he became hostile toward the audience, pointing out the lack of black attendees and saying the situations of blacks and gays differed. Using the n word and the f word, he said that while blacks were rioting in Los Angeles’s Watts neighborhood in protest of racism, gay people “were doing what [they] wanted to do on Hollywood Boulevard and didn’t give a shit about it.” He accused gays of being racially prejudiced.
While the words were delivered angrily, Jennifer said, she understood Richard’s point. “He was admitting that, hey, I’m kind of one of you — not necessarily one of you — but I know the party, I know what happens, I’m down,” she told the Beast.
I Am Richard Pryor airs Friday at 10 p.m. Eastern on the Paramount Network.