Listen Live
NY: Screening and Party for "That's What I Am Talking About"

Source: Paul Hawthorne / Getty

Paul Mooney, a pioneering stand up comedian, actor and writer, has died, according to his rep. He was 79.

Mooney, who became famous as a writer for Richard Prior starting in the late 1960’s, was recently featured as a favorite on the smash hit television show Chappelle Show. In addition to his work in Hollywood, the comedian also appeared in several films, but relished in his role as the legendary Sam Cooke in the 1978 feature “The Buddy Holly Story.”

He died Wednesday at his home in Oakland, California of a heart attack, according to reports.

“Thank you all from the bottom of all of our hearts …you’re all are the best!…… Mooney World .. The Godfather of Comedy – ONE MOON MANY STARS! .. To all in love with this great man.. many thanks,” family posted on Mooney’s Twitter account Wednesday morning.

Mooney’s style of comedy was rare. Throughout the years he learned how to pull his audience closer by not directly engaging with them, but also kept crowds laughing. His truest talent was when his ideas came out with a pen and paper. An extraordinarily gifted writer for such television programs as Sanford and Son, Good Times, In Living Color and The Richard Pryor Show. Mooney wrote some of Pryor’s routines for an appearance on Saturday Night Live in 1975.

Many celebrities gave their tributes on social media after news of Mooney’s death broke.

Mooney’s last public words are a fitting tribute to his career. He said, “People will always show you who they are… when you have quiet time it comes to you how to prepare your shield. Always be you and put your best foot forward is your shield!”

Comedian and writer Paul Mooney dead at 79  was originally published on