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On one of his first nights, he opened for singer and pianist Nina Simone at New York's Village Gate.
Simone recalls Pryor's bout of performance anxiety: He shook like he had malaria, he was so nervous.
Angered that a white soldier was overly amused at the racially charged scenes of Douglas Sirk's film Imitation of Life, Pryor and several other black soldiers beat and stabbed him, although not fatally.
In 1963, Pryor moved to New York City and began performing regularly in clubs alongside performers such as Bob Dylan and Woody Allen.
Pryor won an Emmy Award (1973) and five Grammy Awards (1974, 1975, 1976, 1981, and 1982).
In 1974, he also won two American Academy of Humor awards and the Writers Guild of America Award.
With every successful album Pryor recorded for Warner (or later, his concert films and his 1980 freebasing accident), Laff quickly published an album of older material to capitalize on Pryor's growing fame—a practice they continued until 1983.
The next night was the same, and the next, and I rocked him each time.His popularity led to success as a comic in Las Vegas.The first five tracks on the 2005 compilation CD Evolution/Revolution: The Early Years (1966–1974), recorded in 19, capture Pryor in this period.(1977), Greased Lightning (1977), Blue Collar (1978), and The Muppet Movie (1979).Pryor signed with the comedy-oriented independent record label Laff Records in 1970, and in 1971 recorded his second album, Craps (After Hours).