Eddie Murphy Has Not Forgotten His $100,000 Bet with Richard Pryor: ‘He Owes Me’

Legendary comedian Richard Pryor may be gone, but Eddie Murphy seems to be holding his onetime idol to a longtime debt.

Eddie Murphy
EddieMurphy, 2021 (YouTube screenshot, The Late Late Show with James Corden, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITAkR27ubAQ)

Murphy, known for his iconic comedic talent and numerous accomplishments, recently revealed on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” that he still holds on to an unpaid wager he made with his late idol, Richard Pryor.

During the show, Murphy pulled out a vinyl copy of his debut music album, “How Could It Be,” released in 1985, and shared one of the dedications on the album cover: “To Richard Pryor, my idol, with whom I have a $100,000 bet. No motherf—–, I didn’t forget.” With a chuckle, Murphy confirmed that the bet remains unsettled.

The bet goes back to when Murphy told Pryor that he was planning to release a music album. Pryor, perhaps skeptical of Murphy’s musical talents, bet him $100,000 that he couldn’t produce a non-comedy album entirely focused on music.

“When I told him I was doing a musical album, he bet me $100,000 that I wouldn’t put out a music album where there’s no jokes or nothing, it’s just all music,” said Murphy, who has a net worth of $200 million, according to Parade. “He said, ‘You’ll never do it.’ And I bet him $100,000. And then I did it, and he never paid me.”

Murphy accepted the challenge, released the album in 1985, and had the hit top 10 single “Party All the Time,” which was produced by Rick James.

However, despite Murphy’s accomplishment, Pryor never paid up on the bet. Murphy never pressed the issue during their time together, including on the set of the 1989 film “Harlem Nights,” which Murphy, who is now filming “Beverly Hills Cop: Axel Foley” for a 2024 release and released his new Christmas movie “Candy Cane Lane,” directed.

Richard Pryor passed away in 2005 after a heart attack at age 65. His estimated net worth was $40 million at the time of his death.

Complex Relationship

Murphy idolized Pryor. However, in a 1990 Spin interview with Spike Lee, the star revealed that Pryor did not reciprocate the young superstar’s esteem on the set of “Harlem Nights.” “[I]t was disappointing because Richard wasn’t the way I thought Richard was gonna be,” said Murphy, Slash Film reported.

During an appearance on “The Late Late Show with James Corden” in 2021, Murphy recalled how he first met his idol.

“And I met him on the way from Atlanta to L.A. He was on the plane,” he said. “I went over and I said, ‘Mr. Pryor, I’m Eddie, will you listen to my–‘ He said, ‘Oh yeah, I know who you are.'”

Murphy handed Pryor his album.

“I gave him my record, he put the cassette in, put on the headphones. I was sitting behind him watching him listen to my record. That was the first time meeting him.”

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