*According to journalist/vlogger Roland Martin’s post on Instagram, comedic legend Paul Mooney has transitioned:
“His cousin, Rudy Ealy, just called me from Paul’s phone and said he passed away two hours ago after suffering a heart attack at his home in Oakland. He was 79.
Rudy Ealy told me that Paul had been suffering with dementia for some time and had been living with him. Rudy said Oakland paramedics valiantly tried to save him after suffering a heart attack this AM.
We will pay tribute to him tonight on #RolandMartinUnfiltered at 6 pm EST”
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Statement from the Mooney family:
Statement from the family https://t.co/lm8Vk2Pvzf
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) May 19, 2021
The comedian was born as Paul Gladney in Shreveport, Louisiana. After moving to Oakland, California, Mooney started his career in funny business as a circus ringmaster and later went on to write and work with comedy superstars.
His sage and incisive musings on racism and American life made him a revered figure in stand-up.
Mooney was the writer behind some of Pryor’s greatest comedy hits like “Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip” and “The Richard Pryor Show.” His friendship and collaboration with Pryor began in 1968 and lasted until Pryor’s 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 “Black Is the New White.
He also wrote for the 1970’s sitcom “Sanford and Son” which starred Redd Fox and has writing credit for the Fox comedy sketch show “In Living Color,” becoming the mind behind famous character of Homey D. Clown, played by Damon Wayans.