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  • Writer's pictureEd Gaines

Trailblazing Comedian, Writer, and Actor Paul Mooney Dead at 79 (Video)

Paul Mooney, the longtime comedian, writer, and actor known best for his work with Richard Pryor, has died from a heart attack. He was 79 years old.

According to his family, Mooney died at his home in Oakland. Paramedics tried unsuccessfully to revive him after he suffered a heart attack.

Mooney grew up in Oakland and got his start in entertainment as a circus ringmaster which led to a passion for telling and writing jokes.

This led to his first professional gig in show business as a writer for Pryor, and the pair would maintain a working relationship for years to come ... with Paul contributing to Richard's legendary stand-up performances such as 'Live on the Sunset Strip.’

Mooney was also the head writer on "The Richard Pryor Show" and wrote a few episodes of "Pryor's Place." His other notable writing credits include "Sanford and Son," "In Living Color" and "Chappelle's Show."

As an actor, Paul's best known for playing Sam Cooke in the 1978 film, "The Buddy Holly Story," and for his role as Junebug in Spike Lee's “Bamboozled”, along with regular appearances on "Chappelle's Show.”

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