Putting on the writs

Pryor sues over lost film

Richard Pryor is taking legal action to recover an unreleased film he made early in his career.

He has filed a lawsuit against director Penelope Spheeris, claiming she has a copy of the 1968 comedy Uncle Tom's Fairy Tales, about a white man who goes on trial for having raped a black woman.

The film was thought to have been destroyed by one of Pryor’s ex-wives, furious at his obsession with the film.

In a suit filed at Los Angeles Superior Court, Pryor says he put up the money for the production and hired Spheeris, then a film student, to help shoot the movie.

He says all material relating to the film went missing from his house in the mid-Eighties – when he was recovering from the near-fatal incident when he set himself alight while freeebasing cocaine.

Pryor claims he's the only person entitled to decide what happens to the film, which he says holds ‘substantial artistic and historical value’.

As well as Wayne's World  director Spheeris, his lawsuit also names his 36-year-old  daughter Rain – who is about to perform her one-woman show at the Edinburgh Fringe.

According to the E! online entertainment website, scenes from the film surfaced two months ago, when the Directors Guild of America was preparing a tribute to him.

The Richard Pryor Show, his controversial American TV series which has never aired in the UK, is to be released on a triple-DVD set next month

Distributors Revolver say the 1997 show ‘looks to be the last of the Pryor franchise to be released in the UK’.

His tour DVD Live In Concert sold 120,000 copies, and became one of the bestselling comedy titles of summer 2004

Click here to pre-order the Richard Pryor Show DVDs



Published: 29 Jul 2005

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