On Wednesday, Richard Pryor was trending on Twitter after his ex-wife, Jennifer Lee, told TMZ that Pryor had sex with Marlon Brando in the ’70s.
Speaking to Vulture recently, Quincy Jones said of Brando, “He could dance his ass off. He was the most charming motherf***** you ever met. He’d f*** anything. Anything! He’d f*** a mailbox. James Baldwin. Richard Pryor. Marvin Gaye.”
Lee said that Pryor would have “no shame” about Quincy’s comments. “It was the ’70s!” she told TMZ. “Drugs were still good, especially quaaludes. If you did enough cocaine, you’d f*** a radiator and send it flowers in the morning.” She went on to say that Richard documented his bisexuality with friends “extensively” in diaries that she plans on publishing later this year.
On Friday, Pryor’s daughter, Rain, denied Quincy and Lee’s claims. She wrote on Facebook, “Daddy did NOT have relations with Brando. Why this sudden need to drag Daddy through the Hollywood mud? I find it tasteless and infuriating.” Rain’s mother is Pryor’s second wife, Shelley, whom he was married to from 1967 to 1969.
Who exactly is Jennifer Lee? How long was she married to Pryor? Read on to learn more about Jennifer Lee, Richard Pryor’s widow.
1. She Was Married to Pryor Twice
Lee was first married to Pryor from 1981 to 1982. She then married him again in 2001.
In a 2013 interview with Bam Blog, Jennifer reveals how she first met Richard. She says the year was 1977, and she was looking for work. Richard had purchased a home in California that needed decorating; Lee’s friend, Lucy Saroyan, introduced her to Richard, and she began working with Lucy, decorating the house. “I fell in love the minute I met him… no joke. I worked for him for six months before we began actually dating,” Lee explains. They didn’t officially start dating until January 1978.
Pryor was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1986. In 2005, just days after his 65th birthday, he died of a heart attack. At the time of his death, Lee told CNN, “He enjoyed life right up until the end… At the end, there was a smile on his face.”
In an interview with ABC after Pryor’s death, Lee said, “He was a real piece of work. He was a handful, and a wonderful handful, and a heartbreaker and the love of my life.” She continued, “He had a very dark side that could strike out and be very volatile at any moment,” she said. “He was incredibly loving and vulnerable. When I met him, the thing that struck me most about him was his vulnerability. And I can tell you many women say this about him, that there was something so open and raw and refreshing about him.”
2. Pryor Was Married Seven Times to Five Women
Lee wasn’t the only woman who Pryor married twice. He was married to Flynn Belaine from 1986 to 1987, and then again from 1990 to 1991.
In total, Pryor was married seven times. All his marriages (apart from his last marriage to Lee) lasted about one year.
Pryor’s first wife was Patricia Price, whom he married in 1960 and divorced in 1961. He married his second wife, Shelley R. Bonus, in 1968. They divorced in 1969.
Actress Deborah McGuire was Pryor’s third wife. McGuire was best known for appearing in the 1975 film Supervixens. Her other credits include The Godson, The Devil’s Garden, Black Starlet and Female Chauvinists. Pryor was McGuire’s only husband.
3. Lee Is an Actor & Producer
Lee found a career as an actor and producer. Her last acting credit was in 2010. Over the course of her career, she has acted in a number of films and movies, including the TV movie Footsteps, Act of Vengeance, The Man in the Glass Booth, Slaves of New York and Bold Native, among others.
According to IMDB, she will also serve as an executive producer on the project Richard Pryor: Is It Something I Said? which has been announced but no date has been set.
Lee’s Twitter bio reveals she lives in Encino, California. Her Twitter bio reads, “White Honky Bitch widow of & married Richard Pryor Twice! Writer/producer/animal rescuer.”
4. She Was Pryor’s Manager
Along with being his wife, Lee was Pryor’s manager, according to NPR.
In her interview with the outlet, she explains that she was dating Pryor for a while before she first saw him perform. Recalling the night she first witnessed him on the stage, she says, “He pulls into the driveway of the Comedy Store on Sunset Boulevard and the next thing I know, I see Richard onstage. I was very surprised that this was the culmination of our evening but more surprised that this was so unintended; that in fact, it was so spontaneous. But that’s how Richard worked.”
Lee explains that Richard was a man who brought everything to the table. “Incredible light, incredible darkness, incredible joy.”
5. Pryor’s Son Reportedly Threatened to Sue Lee If She Continued Pryor’s Biopic
In 2014, TMZ reported that Pryor’s son, Richard Pryor Jr., gave his stepmom a cease and desist letter demanding she stop the production of Lee Daniels’ Richard Pryor biopic.
TMZ reportedly obtained the letter, and Richard Jr. accused Jennifer using “illegal, fraudulent” activity to obtain rights for the film.
Prior Jr. is said to have threatened legal action if the movie went forward.
In May 2016, Lee Daniels stepped off the Richard Pryor biopic, which, at the time, belonged to the Weinstein Company.
In 2013, Lee was an executive producer on a separate documentary, “Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic.” According to Indiewire, Lee was not too pleased with the outcome of the film. She told The Columbus Dispatch, “I think that it failed in revealing what really was going on with Richard… I loved Richard madly; I married him twice. And one of the things I learned from Richard was that I had my own sense of truth and my own moral compass, and I had to follow it no matter what.”