Edward Regan “Eddie” Murphy was born on April 3, 1961. Eddie was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and he is an American comedian, actor, writer, singer, producer and musician. After Eddie’s father passed away, his mother remarried, at which point the newly formed family moved to Roosevelt, New York. It was around the age of fifteen that Murphy began writing and performing his own routines, which were highly influenced by Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor.
Murphy began performing stand-up comedy on the same stage with Whoopi Goldberg and Robin Williams. His stand-up routines consisted of cussing, foul language and poking fun at wide diverse groups of people. Murphy is known for attributing his stand-up comedy style to Richard Pryor and the inspiration he gained from him as a child.
Murphy’s acting took off when he was first approached to be a regular on the very famous and very funny “Saturday Night Live” in the early 80s. Murphy was credited for giving life back to the series while it was in the midst of its first real downward spiral. His most notable characters while on SNL include a version of Buckwheat from the “Little Rascals”, an improved street wise version of Mr. Roger’s and Gumby. From here Murphy went on to star in his first big screen debut, appearing in the film “48 Hrs” co-starring Nick Nolte. Later that same year, he went on to star alongside Dan Aykroyd in “Trading Places”, which proved to be a bigger success than his first movie. It was the first movie he worked on with director John Landis, but not his last; the two went on to release two more box office hits, “Coming to America and Beverly Hills Cops 3.”
In 1984, Eddie starred in “Beverly Hills Cop”. The role was intended originally for Sylvester Stallone. It grossed over 200 million in the box office and now remains 40th on the list of all-time box office grosses and 4th highest among “R” rated movies as of March 2011. Murphy’s other films include “Best Defense” starring Dudley Moore, and in 1986 he starred in the supernatural comedy film “ The Golden Child”. The film was originally written for Mel Gibson as a serious role, but when Gibson turned it down, “The Golden Child” was then rewritten as a comedy of sorts and Murphy was offered the part.
As a solo artist, Murphy released two hit singles the first produced by Rick James was titled “Party All the Time” and the second “Put Your Mouth on Me” in the mid-80s. He also recorded an album in the early 1990s called “Love’s Alright”, in which he performed in a music video of a single off the album titled “Whatzupwitu”, featuring Michael Jackson. The album also features a track that Murphy recorded as a duet with Shabba Ranks called “I was King.” In 1992 Murphy also appeared in the Michael Jackson video “Remember the Time” alongside Magic Johnson and Iman. Murphy also performed many of the tracks for the “Shrek” films, including “I’m a Believer” and “Living La Vida Loca.”
In 1989 through the 2000s Eddie Murphy’s career started to drop off, with his lowest point coming with his film “Beverly Hills Cop 3″, although Murphy did gain some momentum at the box office with the films “The Distinguished Gentlemen”, “Boomerang”, “Another 48 Hrs”, “Vampire in Brooklyn” and “Harlem Nights”. It was during this period of Murphy’s career that he was looked down upon by the very well-known filmmaker Spike Lee. Spike Lee disapproved of Murphy not using his show business stature to help black actors break out into film. This was a blow to the actor, considering that the movies he starred in and the films he produced were often populated with mostly black actors.
Making a Comeback
Murphy began making a film star recovery in 1996, starting with his role in the film “The Nutty Professor.” He then followed with roles in a series of family-orientated films including “Mulan”, “Dr. Doolittle”, the “Shrek” series, “Daddy Day Care” and “The Haunted Mansion.” In 2006, he starred in the musical film “Dreamgirls” as the role of the soul singer James “Thunder” Early. This role landed Murphy with a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor, a Screen Actors’ Guild Award and a Broadcast Film Critics’ Association Award in the film category.
Eddie Murphy is said to begin working on the film “Beverly Hills Cop 5” and he will also be starring in a new version of the film “The Incredible Shrinking Man.”