My husband and I have long enjoyed the comedy of Richard Pryor (PEOPLE, June 29), but unlike my husband I always sensed an almost overwhelming pain in his routines. My own childhood was traumatic and perhaps I saw in Richard my own pain mirrored. But now as I look at him on the cover of your magazine, I find in his face a peaceful expression; there is less anger than before. If indeed this is a "last interview," as he indicated, thank God it's one that leaves all of us who love him feeling that, yes, everything really will be just fine.
Richard Pryor in the years ahead will be remembered as the Charlie Chaplin of the '80s.
You quote ex-football pro and potential presidential candidate Rep. Jack Kemp as saying: "You can't play quarterback for 13 years and not come away with some sense of overall vision." I wonder if football has a strong advantage over 13 years of peanut farming or 13 years of acting. I also wonder if there still are people somewhere who have studied history, law, international relations and economics, thereby acquiring an even broader view. It might be refreshing to have one of those as a candidate again.
I am usually an adoring fan of Kenny Rogers, but I felt compelled to write after reading about his $14.5 million house that decorator Ron Wilson is redoing. Seems like he's the old woman who lived in a shoe—only he has so much money he doesn't know what to do!
Marty Alexis Peschek
By all means, Mr. Rogers, build your wife a 2,000-square-foot closet, but maybe it would have been wiser had you just been obscene and not heard.
Lynda K. Pineau
Peabody Pond, Maine
Class of '81
As a black woman I was pleased to read about Andrea Davis in your story of 10 up-and-coming graduate students, but very displeased that no black male was included. By the way, contrary to what you say, even though I have my master's degree, I've found that being young, black, female and somewhat gifted can create problems rather than be a cause for celebration.
Jennifer Hill Young
Kansas City, Mo.
Pam Dawber & Andy Gibb
On a recent trip to Los Angeles, I attended a performance of The Pirates of Penzance. Pam Dawber shouldn't waste time worrying about the future of Mork & Mindy, which robs her of a true talent-singing. She was magnificent.
Idaho Falls, Idaho
I have had the pleasure of seeing Rex Smith star in the Broadway production of The Pirates of Penzance. Having just seen the West Coast version of this show, it is no mystery to me why Andy Gibb's career is, in his own words, "going nowhere." I applaud Rex Smith for taking on this challenging role to broaden his insight as an artist, rather than, like Andy Gibb, trying to rejuvenate a career that never was.
New York City
Your article on Cari Lightner's senseless death touched me greatly. It was a nightmare revived. There was my father lying on a country road on April 25th of this year, killed instantly by a drunken driver. The circumstances were not exactly the same as in the Lightner case but, unfortunately, the outcome was. I wish I could predict that something good would result from our family's grievous tragedy and that Candy Lightner's efforts would result in massive changes of laws. However, a society that measures a life cut short with a fine (the outcome in my father's case) has an extremely long way to go.
I admire Candy Lightner's courage in forming MADD and her efforts to win legislative action against drunk drivers. But as long as we have judges, Senators and Representatives who are drunk drivers, I feel that she and her organization won't succeed.
My husband walked in the door with a pint of vodka in his hand, kissed me as I talked on the phone to a MADD representative, then went upstairs to pass out in his chair. This morning I gave him your excellent article on the founding of MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, but the much-needed discussion on drinking, driving and death didn't happen. In order to refuel myself I reread the article. I realize my energy and anger must be used constructively as I face up to the need to confront a much-loved husband and father with a program to curb his drinking. It is the only hope if I am to avoid being in the same circumstance as the conscience-stricken wife of the drunk driver who had to implicate her spouse in the death of Cari Lightner. But I feel I can also do more than merely make a family decision to attempt intervention. I shall ask friends, relatives and neighbors to become involved to deter further drunk-driving tragedies.
While I applaud Candy Lightner's efforts for more stringent legal consequences for drunken driving, I hope she does not assume that all people with drinking problems should be imprisoned. Very often those who repeatedly drink and drive are suffering from the disease of alcoholism. I agree that offenders should be punished, but we must realize they also need help. Believe me, the pain of seeing your child slowly deteriorate from that disease is perhaps no less painful than having your child struck down suddenly.
My recent comment which you quote about perfecting a life-style that doesn't require one's presence should properly be attributed to comic George Carlin. While the statement fairly describes a personal goal of mine, I cannot claim authorship.
New York City