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Richard Pryor always stood in awe of Gene Wilder, his daughter, actress Rain Pryor, told The Hollywood Reporter on Monday.
Perhaps the most iconic buddy comedy duos of all time, the pair appeared in multiple films, which became instant classics. On Monday, Wilder’s family announced he died on Sunday night. He was 83. Richard died in 2005 at age 65.
Rain Pryor said it was hard to imagine one without the other when it came to the two comic legends she grew up watching on movie sets.
“I think they both helped each other grow as artists in their art form and for who they were outside of their art form,” Pryor told THR. “They are the people who set the stage outside of the Laurel and Hardy type of thing.”
Richard, known as a party animal outside of his work, had a profound respect and admiration for Wilder, Pryor said.
“[Wilder] was a very caring human being, but I know that he didn’t hang out with dad a lot because they just didn’t — my dad was different,” Pryor elaborated. “They were different in natures. Mr. Wilder was the older ‘I’m here. I’m doing my work and we have a great chemistry. And then I’m going to go have my sober life.’ He was a normal dude compared to my dad in that sense. But in terms of his kindness and generosity and to watch the two of them together, there’s not a magic that’s been like that in a long time.”
Her father thought the world of Wilder and made the same comment about his screen buddy all the time, she said.
“[Richard] thought he was amazing,” Pryor said. “He thought them together was amazing. He always said, ‘That man’s a genius, and he’s a good man, that’s for sure.’ I always heard him say, ‘He’s a good man.'”
Going to visit her father on sets, Pryor said she got to know Wilder and also came to adore him.
“He was just so gentle of a soul and really loving,” she explained. “He was a warm person. He was just kind and patient, and I never heard him say a bad word about anyone, even on set.”
Pryor said Wilder’s death is difficult, but there is some happiness to it: “I’m saddened for the comedy world, but I am happy because Mr. Wilder now gets to be with the love of his life, Gilda Radner, and say hi to my pops.”
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