Paul Mooney, a pioneer comedian, writer and actor, has died, his lawyer, Cassandra Williams, told The Hollywood Reporter. He was 79 years old.
Mooney died Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at his home in Oakland, California.
“Thank you all from the bottom of all of our hearts …you’re all are the best!…… Mooney World .. The Godfather of Comedy – ONE MOON MANY STARS! .. To all in love with this great man.. many thanks,” family posted on Mooney’s Twitter account Wednesday morning.
In addition to performing his own material, Mooney was famously a writer for the late comedian Richard Pryor. Mooney was introduced to a whole new generation of fans when he appeared multiple times on Chappelle’s Show, including the classic segment, “Ask a Black Dude.” Mooney has numerous film credits, including playing the legendary Sam Cooke in The Buddy Holly Story (1978).
‘You Will Truly Be Remembered’
“We are deeply saddened and heartbroken by the news of @PaulEalyMooney’s passing. He was the foundation of our industry, the inspiration of many of our careers and the founder of comedy as we know it. You will truly be remembered. Make God Laugh, Paul, ”Los Angeles comedian The Laugh Factory wrote on Twitter.
His birth name is Paul Gladney, Mooney was born in 1941 in Shreveport, Louisiana. After discovering that he had a knack for humor and writing, Moody moved to Hollywood where he would prosper as a writer for old TV shows such as Sanford and Son and the Good Times. Mooney also recorded many of Pryor’s performances for his albums, including Live on the Sunset Strip and Is It Something I Said. Mooney was also the lead author for a short, religious classic, the Richard Pryor Show. She also had a brief stint as a writer on In Living Color.
Some of Mooney’s biggest fans are those who worked with him in the business.
“RIP the great Paul Mooney. It was an honor to be a back of the room student for his late night master classes when I was a doorman back in the day,” Marc Maron said on Twitter.
Eddie Murphy brought the house down when, in early March, he recalled the story of first meeting Mooney as Murphy’s star was taking off thanks to Saturday Night Live.
Murphy explained there was an incident at The Comedy Store in the ’80s that started when he was given “the light” to wrap up his set one evening. “I was like first-year SNL and I was killing, and I was like, ‘They’re giving me the light?’ I was only up for 10 minutes,’” Murphy said. He was told Mooney was up next, and not knowing who that was at the time, Murphy asked the audience which of the two they would rather hear. He then kept going for another hour, Murphy said.