Comedian Paul Mooney dead at 79 from heart attack


Paul Mooney, the actor-comedian famous for his roles in “The Buddy Holly Story” and “Bamboozled,” has died at 79.

Mooney passed away Wednesday morning in Oakland, California, his daughter Spring Mooney confirmed on Twitter. The cause of death was a heart attack, according to reports.

“Give me a moment,” Spring said in the emotional tweet. “My best friend just died and my world is forever SHOOK !!! I really can’t put into words right now my feelings .. know that I LOVE THIS MAN AND I AM BROKEN.”

Mooney was best known for playing Sam Cooke opposite Oscar nominee Gary Busey in 1978’s “The Buddy Holly Story.” He also played Junebug in Spike Lee’s acclaimed 2000 comedy “Bamboozled.”

The Shreveport, Louisiana, native got his start as a writer, backing legendary stand-up comedian Richard Pryor. He went on to write for Fox’s “In Living Color.”

In 2004, Mooney landed a high-profile role — playing Negrodamus — in a couple of skits on close friend and comic Dave Chappelle’s smash hit “Chappelle’s Show.”

In 2006, Mooney told The Post that his controversial BFF has an “innocence” and “little boy quality” that he admired, adding that he was worried about the future of stand-up comedy.

“We need people who are talented, creative and speak the truth,” Mooney said of Chappelle. “It’s a dying breed.”

Paul Mooney wrote and acted throughout his long career.
Paul Mooney wrote and acted throughout his long career.
Alamy Stock Photo

Mooney’s rep did not return The Post’s request for comment.

On Wednesday following news of his passing, fans shared their condolences for the influential comedian.

Director and producer Robert Townsend, who cast Mooney in the 1987 flick “Hollywood Shuffle,” saluted the comic for his outspokenness in a 2016 Vulture interview. “Paul didn’t care to be loved. He wanted to speak his mind,” he said. “He taught a generation of comedians to be fearless.”

Recently, fellow comedian Sandra Bernhard shared the story of how Mooney discovered her, launching her career in the business.

“Cinco De Mayo 1974 I moved to LA my dad drove me over from Scottsdale in my Ford Maverick with a Landau roof studied manicuring at the Charles Ross School of Beauty I was 18 started performing a year later @PaulEalyMooney discovered me at the Ye Little Club the rest is history,” she tweeted — to which Mooney wrote back, “Love her!”

In a show of appreciation, some fans also resurfaced a message tweeted by Mooney from just days prior to his death.


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