ABC's Barbara Walters scored another of her inumerable scoops yesterday, becoming the first TV reporter to interview comedian Richard Pryor since he was severely burned in an accident early in June.
"I feel born again," Pryor told Walters on ABC's World News Tonight.
"I feel like God has given me a second chance of life."
Pryor was only yesterday released from Sherman Oaks, Calif., Community Hospital, where he was treated for burns that covered his neck, chest, hands and part of his face. His face escaped being disfigured, although scars could be seen beneath his shirt.
"I'm still as ugly as I ever was," said Pryor.
Walters had agreed beforehand not to ask Pryor about how the accident occured.According to Los Angeles police, Pryor said he was injured while attempting to "freebase" cocaine. Walters told viewers that Pryor has "promised to reveal how the accident occured" on a longer interview ABC will air Aug. 5.
Pryor went to the brink of tears when responding to a question about the thousands of letters he'd received in the hospital. "I'm really glad to be alive. I mean that," he said, his voice cracking.
He said the trauma of the accident had caused him to reassess values. "A fly flew into my room one day, and I talked to it," he said jokingly. Pryor said policemen found him running on the night of the accident because "I didn't want to die sitting down."
Pryor told Walters that his "outlook" on life had been altered by the experience. "I just feel like a better person," he said.