Paul Mooney, legendary comedian and actor, dies at 79

NEW YORK - JANUARY 30: Comedian Paul Mooney takes part in a discussion panel after the world premiere screening of "That's What I'm Talking About" at The Museum of Television & Radio January 30, 2006 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images for TV Land) (Paul Hawthorne, 2006 Getty Images)

Paul Mooney, the legendary comedian, actor and former writer for Richard Pryor, has died at the age of 79, according to reports.

Variety reported the news on Wednesday, reporting that Mooney died at his home in Oakland, California early Wednesday morning. CNN’s Roland Martin reported that Mooney passed after suffering a heart attack. Paul Mooney’s official Twitter account posted this message:

Mooney’s friendship and collaboration with Pryor began in 1968 and lasted until Pryor’s death in 2005. Together, they confronted racism perhaps more directly than it ever had been before onstage. Mooney chronicled their partnership in his 2007 memoir “Black Is the New White.”

Mooney wasn’t as widely known as Pryor, but his influence on comedy was ubiquitous. As head writer on “In Living Color,” Mooney helped create and inspire the Homey D. Clown character. He played the future-foretelling Negrodamus on “Chappelle’s Show.”

Mooney was also an actor who played Sam Cooke in 1978′s “The Buddy Holly Story” and Junebug in Spike Lee’s 2000 film “Bamboozled.”

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Ken Haddad is the digital content and audience manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013. He enjoys suffering through Lions games on Sundays in the fall.