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Richard Pryor's Daughter Rain Says He Was Honest About 'His Demons and His Addictions' During Her Childhood

·3-min read

Rain Pryor is celebrating the comedic legacy of her late father, Richard Pryor.

The actress and writer, 52, is looking back on the groundbreaking achievements of her dad in the new A&E documentary Right to Offend: The Black Comedy Revolution, premiering June 29.

The comedian was famously outspoken about his struggles with substance abuse before his passing in 2005 at the age of 65. And as Rain explains in the latest episode of the PEOPLE Every Day podcast, he was also candid about that side of his life with his family.

"My dad was honest and open about who he was, and his demons and his addictions," she says about reconciling the darker side of her father. "We were living it, we were going through it with him, so nothing was a surprise."

Richard Pryor and Rain Pryor during Century City Premiere of "See No Evil, Hear No Evil" at Century Plaza Hotel in Century City, California, United States. (Photo by Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
Richard Pryor and Rain Pryor during Century City Premiere of "See No Evil, Hear No Evil" at Century Plaza Hotel in Century City, California, United States. (Photo by Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty

Rain admits Richard used to get "ahead of whatever press there was going to be" with his no-filter approach. "If he was doing drugs, it would be like, 'I'm doing cocaine, don't you ever do it!" she recalls. "I was the kid that would show up with the big 'just say no to drugs' signs and leaving condoms on his bed for safe sex."

This sort of chaotic Hollywood lifestyle became the norm for Rain when she was young; she didn't discover that not "everyone grew up that way" until years (and plenty of therapy) later: "I think it's because of his brutal honesty about who he was and what his 'isms' were, [it] allowed us to kind of have this very strange normal in that world of Hollywood."

RELATED: Richard Pryor's Daughter Rain Says He'd Be Shocked by Racism Today: 'How the Hell Have We Gone Backwards?'

Rain jumped at the chance to honor her dad and his legacy in the world of stand-up comedy through the new two-part documentary, which covers the history of Black comedy and its ability to drive social change.

"Being asked about Black comedy and its social relevance at the time, and what that means for comics today, was a chance to really celebrate who my dad was," she says, noting how the world of comedy has changed over time. "We are headed in a really strange, new and different counterculture, as opposed to when my dad was first starting out in his standup, which was part of that revolutionary political and social counterculture."

Rain is excited for a new generation to learn the "historical context and meaning" to the things Richard said at the time, as well as more about who he was as an entertainer. She commends her father for taking risks and sparking controversy when he hit the stage, unafraid of the potential consequences or blowback.

RELATED: Richard Pryor's Widow Jennifer Lee Calls His 1980 Fire Incident a Suicide Attempt: 'He Warned Me'

"To walk off the stage when you have a hit gig and your life is kind of threatened at that time, because you're not willing to toe the line," she says. "You want to step outside of that box that people want to put you in, especially as a Black man in America at that time, and he took that risk and he stepped out and people loved him for it because my dad had a way of speaking truth to power that made everyone listen."

"Black, white, brown, you listened, and it became his own movement," she adds. "That is the thing that catapulted him to become the Richard Pryor everyone knows and loves."

Check out more episodes of PEOPLE Every Day, airing on Apple podcastsiHeartMedia, SpotifyStitcherAmazon Music or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

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