|Contributed to the screenplay for the 1974 Mel Brooks comedy classic Blazing Saddles.|
|Suffered a heart attack in 1978. Two years later, he accidentally set himself on fire while freebasing. The incident left over 50 percent of his body with third degree burns.|
|Wrote for TV series such as The Flip Wilson Show and Sanford and Son.|
|Was the first person to receive the Mark Twain Humor Prize for American Humor in 1998.|
|Raised by his grandmother who ran a brothel.|
|Launched entertainment career as a singer and piano player.|
|Worked with fellow comedic actor Gene Wilder on four buddy films: 1976's Silver Streak, 1980's Stir Crazy, 1989's See No Evil, Hear No Evil and 1991's Another You.|
|In 1986 he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.|
|Honored in 1996 by the NAACP with a Lifetime Achievement Image Award and a Hall of Fame Award.|
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