Barbara Walters Was Caught in Bed With Richard Pryor, Sherri Shepherd Says
The daytime host remembered sharing the gossip with former colleague Joy Behar.
Over the years, much has been said about late comedian Richard Pryor's love life. He dated actor Pam Grier, was married seven times to five different women, and has been said to have hooked up with Marlon Brando. But now, an unexpected person has been added to the list of Pryor's supposed flings. On a new episode of her talk show Sherri, Sherri Shepherd said that she was told that Barbara Walters was once caught in bed with Pryor.
Shepherd and Walters used to share a stage as co-hosts of The View, and on her new show, Shepherd told the story while hosting guest and The View colleague, Joy Behar. She said that she told Behar the gossip years ago intending for it to be kept secret, then was shocked when Behar confronted Walters with the information to her face. Read on to find out more.
Shepherd heard the story from another comedian.
Shepherd told the story about Walters and Pryor while explaining to her audience that Behar can't keep a secret. She said that she heard the rumor from comedian Paul Mooney, who was a collaborator of Pryor's. Shepherd didn't reveal when she heard the story.
"I had run into Paul Mooney, and Paul Mooney had said that he caught Barbara Walters with Richard Pryor," Shepherd said. "I came back and I was like, 'Joy, guess what!' When you talk like that you know 'don't tell nobody.' I was like, 'Don't tell nobody.'"
Behar said, "He walked in on them?" Shepherd responded, "He walked in. That's what he said … Don't act like you don't remember!"
Behar brought the supposed fling up to Walters.
Behar didn't listen to Shepherd's request to not tell anyone and instead confronted Walters about it.
"The next day, Barbara walks in and you go … 'So, ya shlepping Richard Pryor, huh?'" Shepherd recalled of Behar.
"I didn't say you told me," Behar clarified. "What did she say?"
"She turned around—and you know Barbara's head would swivel like that—she goes, 'Who told you that?!'" Shepherd continued. Shepherd said that Behar was able to ask the show's co-creator personal questions like this because she wasn't "scared of Barbara."
Behar said that Walters liked Black men.
"Between you and me, Barbara liked a brother … She was going out with a Black senator. Is this gonna be on television?" Behar said, laughing. Behar and Shepherd pointed out that Walters wrote about having an affair with the senator Edward Brooke in the '70s in her 2008 book, Audition. They also noted that Walters liked to flirt with her "crush" Colin Powell whenever he stopped by The View.
Walters was married four times to three men: to Robert Henry Katz from 1955 until the marriage was annulled in 1957; to Lee Guber from 1963 to 1976; and to Merv Adelson from 1981 to 1984 and then again from 1986 to 1992.
Walters denied the Pryor rumor publicly.
Mooney told the same story about Walters and Pryor in an interview on The Bubba Army. (Mooney passed away in 2021.) Howard Stern asked Walters about Mooney's claim on The Howard Stern Show in 2007, and she denied having sex with Pryor.
However, Walters and Pryor definitely did cross paths—at least professionally. She interviewed him multiple times. During a 2004 interview with Oprah Winfrey, Walters said of Pryor, "He's fascinating because he's more than a comedian. I interviewed him four times. The second time was after he'd set himself on fire. The third was when he admitted to me that he'd set himself on fire. I'm touched by Richard Pryor because I saw this brilliant man self-destruct."
Pryor struggled with drug addiction during his life. He died of a heart attack in 2005 at age 65. Walters died in 2022 at age 93.
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