Richard Pryor got a send-off fit for a king of comedy.
Anecdotes, tributes and tears flowed Saturday in Los Angeles as family and friends gathered for a private funeral service memorializing the iconic--and iconoclastic--funnyman, who died a week earlier of a heart attack at age 65.
Diana Ross, George Lopez, Pauly Shore and Mike Epps were among those lining the pews at the Church of the Hills at Forest Lawn Cemetery.
The service included a video montage of Pryor's film and stage performances, a rendition of "Amazing Grace" that included vocals by Ross, who starred with Pryor The Wiz and Lady Sings the Blues, and shared memories among attendees.
"It was a very intimate, very small, and we all just got together and kissed him away," Mo'Nique told reporters afterward. "See you later, Richard, see you when we get there...But don't call me no time soon, uh-uh."
Added Epps: "It was sad but joyous. It was the way I think Richard would have loved it to be. He would have loved to have seen the laughter and the pain also.''Richard Pryor:
Considered one of the greatest, most influential comics of all time, Pryor showcased his skills in a trio of award-winning concert films--Richard Pryor Live in Concert (1979), Richard Pryor Live on the Sunset Strip (1982) and Richard Pryor Here and Now (1983)--and starred in more than 30 films, including Silver Streak, Uptown Saturday Night, Stir Crazy and the autobiographical comedy-drama Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling.
Pryor battled drug addiction throughout his life, and was nearly killed in a freebasing incident that he later described as a suicide attempt. But his biggest health challenge was multiple sclerosis, which essentially sidelined his career in 1991, after tag-teaming with frequent partner Gene Wilder in Another You, and left him confined to a wheelchair.
Although he rarely appeared in public in his later years, Pryor did turn out to receive the inaugural Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 1998, and was featured in the 2004 Comedy Central special I Ain't Dead Yet, M*therf@ck%r!, where he was lauded by the likes of Dave Chappelle, Margaret Cho, Jamie Foxx, Whoopi Goldberg, Steve Harvey, Chris Rock, Denis Leary and Robin Williams.
On Saturday, Lopez told reporters that Pyror "meant everything to me."
"He was the one person who filled my house with his voice and made me not feel lonely, and made me feel my life could be worth something and that my pain could be currency for laughs," Lopez said.
Though no official announcement has been made, sources say a public memorial service for Pryor will be held in January. His widow, Jennifer Pryor, says a major benefit celebrating her husband's life is also being planned.
Meantime, on Monday, BET will present Richard Pryor: The Funniest Man Dead or Alive, featuring recollections from the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Dave Chappelle, Chris Tucker, Dick Gregory, Wanda Sykes, Paul Mooney, Mike Epps, Tracey Morgan, Mo'Nique, Charlie Murphy, Alex Thomas, Steve Harvey and Saturday Night Live executive producer Lorne Michaels. The special airs at 7:30 p.m. ET.