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The Buddy Holly Story actor Paul Mooney dies at 79: The comedian suffered a heart attack

The Buddy Holly Story actor Paul Mooney dies at 79: The comedian who worked with Dave Chappelle and starred in Bamboozled suffered a heart attack at his Oakland home

  • Paul Mooney has passed away at the age of 79, it was revealed on Wednesday 
  • The star died after suffering a heart attack at his home in Oakland, California
  • He is best known for his work opposite Gary Busey in The Buddy Holly Story 

Comedian Paul Mooney has passed away at the age of 79, it was revealed on Wednesday.

The star – who is best known for his work opposite Gary Busey in The Buddy Holly Story – died after suffering a heart attack at his home in Oakland, California.

‘Comedic legend Paul Mooney has passed away,’ journalist Roland Martin shared on Twitter. ‘His cousin Rudy Ealy just called me from Paul’s phone and said he passed away two hours ago after suffering a heart attack at his home in Oakland. He was 79. We will pay tribute to him tonight on #RolandMartinUnfiltered.’

Sad loss for comedy: Comedian Paul Mooney has passed away at the age of 79, it was revealed on Wednesday. Seen in 2010

The tweet: 'Comedic legend Paul Mooney has passed away,' journalist Roland Martin shared on Twitter. 'His cousin Rudy Ealy just called me from Paul's phone and said he passed away two hours ago after suffering a heart attack at his home in Oakland. He was 79'

The tweet: ‘Comedic legend Paul Mooney has passed away,’ journalist Roland Martin shared on Twitter. ‘His cousin Rudy Ealy just called me from Paul’s phone and said he passed away two hours ago after suffering a heart attack at his home in Oakland. He was 79’

He was best known for his work as Negrodamus in Chappelle’s Show. And he also stood out as Sam Cooke in The Buddy Holly Story and as Junebug in Spike Lee’s Bamboozled.

Paul – whose real name was Paul Gladney – grew up in Shreveport, Louisiana but moved to Oakland at the age of seven. He was brought up by his grandmother Aimay Ealy.

He was best known as a comedian, but was also a writer, social critic, and television and film actor.

Paul got his start in the circus as a ringmaster where he would tell jokes.

His first big job was as a writer for comedian Richard Pryor of Harlem Nights fame. Paul crafted jokes for Richard on SNL then became a writer on Live on the Sunset Strip and Is It Something I Said albums.

He then graduated to writing for Pryor on the film Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling. 

Paul also worked as an actor: He made appearances in Which Way Is Up?, Bustin’ Loose and Hollywood Shuffle. 

He was then recognized for playing singer Sam Cooke in The Buddy Holly Story, a hit film from 1978 starring Gary Busey as Buddy.

In the 90s he was the head writer for Fox’s In Living Color. He was the inspiration for the beloved character Homey D Clown, which was played by Damon Wayans. But he stayed with the show for only one year.

Gone too soon: The star - who is best known for his work opposite Gary Busey in The Buddy Holly Story - died after suffering a heart attack at his home in Oakland, California. Seen in 2007

Gone too soon: The star – who is best known for his work opposite Gary Busey in The Buddy Holly Story – died after suffering a heart attack at his home in Oakland, California. Seen in 2007

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