Paul Mooney, A Pioneering Comedian, Dies At 79

Paul Mooney, A Pioneering Comedian, Dies At 79

Paul Mooney, comedian, writer, and actor, died in Oakland, California, on May 19, 2021. He was 79. 

Mooney’s family took Twitter to share the news and wrote,

“Thank you all from the bottom of all our hearts. You’re all the best!...Mooney World.. The Godfather of Comedy - ONE MOON MANY STARS!.. To all in love with this great man..many thanks.”

Paul Mooney was famously a writer for the late comedian Richard Pryor, for which he had a groundbreaking career. He was introduced many times to people when he appeared multiple times on Chappelle’s Show, where his classic segment was “Ask a Black Dude.” 

Dave Chappelle told TMZ that Mooney’s death was a tough one for him.

“I want to shout out every comedian on Earth, the best who ever did it, paved the way today, his legacy will live forever. Paul Mooney will be sorely missed and wildly remembered. So I’ll see to that.”

Filmmaker Ava Duvernay wrote on Twitter saying,  

“Paul Mooney. A comedy giant. I recall listening to his RACE album in college and how formative it was.”

“Yeah, the jokes. But more so, the freedom. He spoke freely and fearlessly about feelings and experiences others found difficult to express. May he be truly free now. Rest, sir.”

Mooney has numerous acting credits, including playing the legendary Sam Cooke in “The Buddy Holly Story” followed by screen time in “Meet the Blacks,” “DTLA,” “Homie Spumoni,” and many more. 

Known as Paul Gladney outside of the stage, Mooney was born in 1941 in Shreveport, Louisiana. After discovering his interest in comedy and writing, he moved to Hollywood, where he made his career as a writer for classic TV shows like “Sanford and Son” and “Good Times.” 

Before his death, Mooney had had prostate cancer. Despite that fact, Mooney continued to tour and perform his stand-up comedy act.

Samantha Xia
Samantha Xia

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