Born on July 16, 1968, in Los Angeles, California, Rain Pryor is the daughter of comedian Richard Pryor. Rain starred on the TV shows Head of the Class and Rude Awakening before launching her own stage show, Fried Chicken and Latkes, which looks at her multicultural heritage. She also wrote the memoir My Father Never Taught Me, and has served as a spokesperson for research on multiple sclerosis.
Early Life and Background
Rain Pryor was born on July 16, 1968, in Los Angeles, California to comedy writer and dancer Shelley Bonis, of Jewish descent, and famed African-American comedian Richard Pryor. The couple were married for two years before divorcing. Rain grew up with her mother and maternal grandparents, not meeting her father again until the age of four and over time coming to know his world of celebrity and personal tumult. Understanding from childhood that she wanted to be a thespian, Rain went on to attend Beverly Hills High School, devoting much of her time to drama work.
Going to the 'Head of the Class'
Rain debuted as a character of her own making—the rebellious T.J. Jones—in ABC's Head of the Class in the late 1980s. Rain was only slated to make a guest appearance, but the strength of her performance landed her a reoccurring role in the sitcom about a group of diverse, intellectually gifted high schoolers.
Rain did a mixture of TV and live stage work during the 1990s and co-starred for a time with Sherilyn Fenn in the Showtime series Rude Awakening, which debuted in 1998. By the end of the decade, Rain had also begun working as a drug counselor, inspired in part by the struggles she'd witnessed her father go through with addiction. She wed fellow counselor Kevin Kindlin in 2002.
The same year, Rain was able to stage the one-woman show Fried Chicken and Latkes, which looks at her multicultural heritage from the perspective of a variety of characters, fusing comedy and song. She has continued to stage the show in an array of venues, both domestic and abroad.
Spokesperson for MS Research
Rain also reconnected with her father, who had been suffering from health complications related to multiple sclerosis for a number of years and who died in December, 2005 from a heart attack. Before his death, the two portrayed a father and daughter dealing with MS on the medical drama Chicago Hope. Rain has worked over the years as a spokesperson for research on the disease and been an ambassador for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
In 2006, Rain's union with Kindlin ended and she left Los Angeles to relocate to Baltimore. She also published Jokes My Father Never Taught Me, a memoir that looked unflinchingly at her childhood and the difficult circumstances of her relationship with Pryor. She then went abroad and helmed Divas, a show in which she covered songs from female jazz greats. Her efforts yielded a live album.
Rain found romance again with Yale Partlow. Though Rain dealt with multiple miscarriages, the couple had a daughter, Lotus Marie, on April 1, 2008.
In 2009, Rain starred in her own cabaret show, Pryor Experience, and a few years later returned to television with an appearance in the 2012 HBO film on Sarah Palin, Game Change, starring Julianne Moore. The same year Pryor also took over as artistic director for the Strand Theater Company in Baltimore and received glowing praise from The New York Times over the staging of Fried Chicken and Latkes at the Actors Temple Theater.
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