Eddie Murphy



Edward "Eddie" Regan Murphy (born April 3, 1961) is a Golden Globe-winning, Grammy Award-winning, Screen Actors Guild-winning, and Academy Award-nominated American actor and comedian. He has also enjoyed a minor singing career.

In a 2005 poll to find The Comedian's Comedian, he was voted amongst the top 50 comedy acts ever by fellow comedians and comedy insiders.

He received a Golden Globe nomination for best actor in a comedy or musical for his performances in Beverly Hills Cop, Trading Places, and The Nutty Professor. In 2007 he won the Golden Globe for his role in Dreamgirls.

He is a well-known voice actor and voiced Thurgood Stubbs in The PJs, Donkey in the Shrek series and the dragon Mushu, in Disney's Mulan. Murphy also has the distinction of having starred in more sequels than any other actor in Hollywood. Those films include: Beverly Hills Cop II (1987), Another 48 Hrs. (1990), Beverly Hills Cop III (1994), Dr. Dolittle 2 (2001), Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (2000), Shrek 2 (2004), and the upcoming Shrek the Third (2007).

In some of his films, he plays multiple roles in addition to his main character, including Coming to America, where he played four radically different characters, the Nutty Professor films, where he played much of the Klumps clan, and 2007's Norbit. Another trademark of Murphy is his deep, infectious, and considerably goofy laugh.

Murphy was born in Brooklyn, New York. His biological father, Charles Q. Murphy, a policeman and amateur comedian, left the family when Murphy was three and was stabbed to death when Murphy was eight. Murphy and his brother Charlie, and half-brother Vernon Lynch, Sr. were raised by his mother Lillian Murphy, a telephone-company employee, and his stepfather Vernon Lynch, a foreman at a Breyers Ice Cream plant. Murphy was considered an exceptionally bright child, but despite testing into gifted and talented programs, he spent a great deal of time on impressions and comedy stand-up routines rather than academics. Around the age of 15, he was writing and performing his own routines along with his then comedy partner Mitchell Kyser at youth centers and local clubs, as well as at the Roosevelt High School auditorium. These routines were heavily influenced by Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor. According to his former manager, Ujima, who first met Murphy when he and Kyser auditioned for a talent show he gave in July 1977, "Eddie would tell anyone who would listen that he would be a household name by the time he was 19, and that's exactly what happened." After leaving Ujima's management and hooking up with King Broder, who paired him with two white comedians as "The Identical Triplets" and mostly got him exposure on cable TV, Murphy decided to seek his own gigs and eventually made it to a Manhattan showcase, The Comic Strip Live. The club's co-owners, Robert Wachs and Richard Tienken, were so impressed with Murphy's impressions of celebrities, along with his overall outlook on life, that they agreed to manage his career and help him find his own direction.

Murphy was voted "Most popular" while attending Roosevelt Junior-Senior High School in Roosevelt, New York, due to the stand-up comedy routines he would perform in the school's auditorium, and jokes he would tell classmates during lunch. Murphy then attended Nassau Community College in Long Island, New York, before beginning his acting career.

Murphy did stand-up comedy at the same Bay Area Comedy Club as Robin Williams and Whoopi Goldberg (who at the time was working under her real name, Caryn Johnson). His early comedy was racy, akin to Richard Pryor, whom Murphy credits as his inspiration to enter comedy. Characterized by frequent swearing and making fun of gays, singers, and others, Murphy became, in a sense, the Pryor of the 1980s, though Pryor wrote in his autobiography that he always thought Murphy's comedy was a little too mean. Murphy's comments about gays and AIDS in his standup routines were considered so vicious that some years later he apologized for the remarks. At the height of his popularity, Eddie Murphy appeared in the concert films Delirious (1983) and Raw (1987). Delirious contained an infamous routine in which he depicted characters Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton from The Honeymooners, as well as other notables such as Mr. T, as homosexuals. In 1983, Murphy won a Grammy for his comedy album Comedian.

In Autumn 1980, the then unknown 19-year-old Murphy badgered talent coordinator Neil Levy to give him a shot on Saturday Night Live. Levy repeatedly rejected him, saying that the show already had a full cast. But Murphy continued pleading with Levy, saying that he had several siblings banking on him getting a spot on the show. Levy finally conceded and allowed him an audition. The audition performance went so well that Levy then began advocating to new executive producer Jean Doumanian to let Murphy on the show. Doumanian initially refused, citing that another actor, Robert Townsend, had already been selected as the cast's "token black guy", and that the show's shrunken budget could not allow for any more actors[citation needed]. Doumanian's mind was changed after seeing Murphy's audition for herself, and then she too began pleading with the network to allow Murphy on the show. NBC only agreed after it was determined that Townsend had not yet signed a contract, at which point Murphy was cast as a featured player.

Murphy made his debut in the second episode of the 1980-1981 season, hosted by Malcolm McDowell, as an extra in a skit called In Search of the Negro Republican. Two weeks later, Murphy had his first speaking role as Raheem Abdul Muhummad on Weekend Update. He made such a positive impression that he was called on for more in later episodes, and was soon raised to the status of full cast member.

Despite Murphy's participation, the 1980-1981 season was considered such a disaster that NBC fired Jean Doumanian and everybody in the cast, with the exception of Murphy and Joe Piscopo. Whereas Murphy had rarely been featured during Doumanian's tenure, he became a break-out star under Doumanian's replacement, Dick Ebersol. Murphy's soaring popularity helped restore the show's ratings. He created some of the period's best characters, including the former child movie star Buckwheat, a life-size version of the Gumby toy character and an inner-city black version of Fred Rogers known as "Mr. Robinson". Murphy performed an uncanny impression of Stevie Wonder. SNL was mostly a two-man show from 1981–1984, with Murphy and Piscopo playing the bulk of the lead characters. All other cast members played supporting roles and were treated with very little patience by the producers.

Former SNL writer Margaret Humphert has said Murphy and Bill Murray are the two most talented people in the history of the show. Murphy left the show midway through the 1983–1984 season, appearing in filmed sketches for the remainder of that season.

In 1982, Murphy made his big screen debut in the cop-buddy thriller 48 Hrs. alongside Nick Nolte. Murphy has cited this first movie as his favorite of all the movies he's done. The movie was perhaps most notable for two scenes: 1) a scene involving Murphy (on a bet with Nolte) terrorizing a redneck bar, and 2) a scene in which Murphy, in a jail cell, sings "Roxanne" by The Police loudly and out of key while listening to the song on headphones. 48 Hrs. proved to be a smash hit when it was released in the Christmas season of 1982. It's considered by some to be the originator of the mismatched, police, action-adventure formula, which was followed by Lethal Weapon, Bad Boys, Rush Hour, and others.

Nolte was scheduled to host the December 11, 1982 Christmas episode of Saturday Night Live, but he became too ill to host, so Murphy took over as host. He became the only cast member to host while still a regular. Murphy opened the show with the phrase, "Live from New York, It's the Eddie Murphy Show!" The decision to have Eddie Murphy host was reported to have upset the rest of the cast.

The following year, Murphy co-starred with fellow SNL alumnus Dan Aykroyd in Trading Places. The movie marked the first of Murphy's collaborations with director John Landis (who also directed Murphy in Coming to America and Beverly Hills Cop III) and proved to be an even greater box office success than 48 Hrs.

In 1984, Murphy starred in the mega-hit Beverly Hills Cop. This film was arguably Eddie Murphy's first full-fledged starring vehicle, as it was originally intended to star Sylvester Stallone. Beverly Hills Cop grossed over $200 million at the box office (thus, solidifying Murphy's status as a box office player) and when adjusted for inflation, remained in the top 40 highest-grossing movies of all time as of 2005.

Also in 1984, Murphy appeared in Best Defense co-starring Dudley Moore. Murphy, who was credited as a "Strategic Guest Star", was added to the film after an original version was completed but tested poorly with audiences. Best Defense was a major financial and critical disappointment, but Murphy was for the most part left unscathed since the entire weight of the movie wasn't on his shoulders. When he hosted SNL, Murphy joined the chorus of those bashing Best Defense, calling it "the worst movie in the history of everything." At the same time he pointed out that "If they paid you to do "Best Defense" what they paid me to do "Best Defense", y'all would have done "Best Defense" too."

Murphy has also been rumored to be initially a part of hits such as Ghostbusters (featuring his Trading Places co-star Dan Aykroyd and fellow SNL alumnus Bill Murray). The part that was originally written with Murphy in mind ultimately went to Ernie Hudson. Murphy was also offered a part in 1986's Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, a role that, after being heavily re-written from comic relief to love interest, ultimately went to future 7th Heaven star Catherine Hicks. By this point (according to the autobiography of the film's director and co-star, Leonard Nimoy) Murphy's near-exclusive contract with Paramount Pictures rivaled Star Trek as Paramount's most lucrative franchise.

Also in 1986, Murphy starred in the supernatural comedy, The Golden Child. The Golden Child was originally intended to be a serious adventure picture starring Mel Gibson. After Gibson turned the role down, the project was offered to Murphy as it was subsequently rewritten as a partial comedy. Although The Golden Child still managed to be a hit (with memorable bits such as Murphy's "I want the knife!" routine), the movie wasn't as critically acclaimed as 48 Hrs., Trading Places, and Beverly Hills Cop. The Golden Child was considered a change of pace for Murphy because of the supernatural setting as opposed to the more "street smart" settings of Murphy's previous efforts.

A year later, Murphy reprised his role of Axel Foley in the Tony Scott-directed Beverly Hills Cop II. Although the film wasn't as critically acclaimed as its 1984 predecessor (Beverly Hills Cop II was panned by critics for its perceived mean-spirited tone and overall plot), it was still a box office smash, grossing over $150 million. Producers reportedly wanted to turn the Beverly Hills Cop franchise into a weekly television series. Murphy declined the TV offer, but was willing to do a film sequel instead.

Murphy was one of the last movie actors to sign an exclusive contract with a studio. In this case, it was Paramount Pictures, which released all of his early films.

Murphy is also a singer, and frequently provided background vocals (which were often uncredited) to songs released by the Bus Boys. As a solo artist, Murphy had two hit singles, "Party All the Time" (which was produced by Rick James) and "Put Your Mouth on Me" in the 1980s. The former is better known than the latter, and is incorrectly considered Murphy's only hit. In 2004, VH-1 and Blender magazine voted "Party All the Time" number seven among the "50 Worst Songs of All-Time." Sharam used a sample of Murphy's Party All The Time for the UK #8 hit PATT (Party All The Time) in 2006. "Party all the Time" has become an 80's cult classic.

Murphy recorded an album in the early 1990s, entitled "Love's Alright" in which he performed in a video of the single "Whatzupwitu", featuring Michael Jackson. In 1999, the "Whatzupwitu" video, which featured Murphy and Jackson in a technicolor-like dream world, was voted as number three among the 25 worst music videos in the MTV era. He also recorded a duet with Shabba Ranks called "I Was a King", which was similarly panned. In 1992, Murphy also appeared in Michael Jackson's "Remember the Time" video alongside Magic Johnson and Iman.

Although uncredited, Murphy provided vocal work on SNL castmate Joe Piscopo's hit comedy single, "The Honeymooners Rap." Piscopo impersonated Jackie Gleason on the single, while Murphy provided an imitation of Art Carney.

Murphy's singing skills were put to good use in the Shrek films. In the first film, he performed a version of "I'm a Believer" in the film's final scene; in Shrek 2 he performed Ricky Martin's hit "Livin' La Vida Loca" along with co-star Antonio Banderas. In addition, in Coming to America, Murphy finally got to do his imitation of Jackie Wilson when he sang "To Be Loved," but, because the character he was playing had a thick accent, unfortunately, he had to sing it in character.

Murphy's musical talent is on display in 2006's Dreamgirls, where he plays a character loosely based on James Brown and later Marvin Gaye. He sings (and raps) several numbers in the film. His performance won him his first ever Golden Globe & Screen Actors Guild awards in 2007 for "Best Actor In A Supporting Role". He's also nominated for an Academy Award for "Best Actor in a Supporting Role" for his perfomance in Dreamgirls.

In 1985, King Broder, who actually did nothing to further Murphy's career, claimed Murphy had signed an "indefinite contract" with him when Murphy was 19 and sued him for $30 million for breach of contract when Murphy was worth an estimated $50 million dollars. Broder even claimed Murphy got his 'Buckwheat' character from an idea he had for 'The Identical Triplets.' In court papers filed in State Supreme Court in Mineola, New York, Murphy said he and Broder had verbally agreed to dissolve the relationship before the end of 1980. Murphy stated, at the time, "He was working as a shoe salesman and had very limited professional experience when he signed the agreement." He also charged that Broder misrepresented himself as the agent for singers Tina Turner, Neil Sedaka and comedian Andy Kaufman. As Murphy was in the process of filming Beverly Hills Cop II at the time of the suit, Paramount Pictures ended up settling the case out of court and paying Broder an undisclosed amount so that they would not lose any more money in production costs.

According to Murphy's childhood friend Harris Haith in his book, Growing Up Laughing With Eddie,
“ long before Murphy did any writing for Coming to America, Art Buchwald had approached Paramount Pictures with the idea for a similar film. His material was rejected, but the information was retained by Paramount. They liked Buchwald's idea but did not see fit to pay him and saved it for use later down the road. Some years later, Paramount presented the idea of Coming to America to Eddie and gave him the contract. Murphy wrote a screenplay that came to light exactly as it aired on the silver screen. In 1988, Buchwald sued Murphy and Paramount Pictures, but Murphy was not found liable because Paramount had received the material and plagiarized it before giving it to Eddie. He did not know the origins of the piece, he just took the idea and expounded on it to bring about the final version of the movie. ”

However, Buchwald and his partner Alain Bernheim did win the suit against Paramount Pictures, were awarded damages, and then accepted a settlement from Paramount. The case was the subject of a 1992 book, Fatal Subtraction: The Inside Story of Buchwald V. Paramount by Pierce O'Donnell and Dennis McDougal.

From 1989 until the mid-1990s, box office results for Murphy's films dropped, particularly with Beverly Hills Cop III (a movie Murphy would ultimately denounce during an appearance on Inside the Actors Studio), Vampire in Brooklyn, and The Distinguished Gentleman, although he did find success with Boomerang and Another 48 Hrs. His directorial debut, Harlem Nights, is widely seen as the first step in Murphy's career slump. Largely seen as a vanity project, Harlem Nights featured Murphy (who had previously been known only as a performer) as director, producer, star, and co-writer, as well as supporting roles for Murphy's comic idols Redd Foxx and Richard Pryor. When the film tanked with both box office returns and critics' reviews, Murphy's professional downward slide began; both he and his films were often severely criticized by critics, and even peers such as Pryor, whose negative comments about Harlem Nights further damaged that film's box-office appeal.

During this period Murphy was also criticized by filmmaker Spike Lee for not using his show business stature to help black actors break into film, despite him giving several future stars roles in his films, for example Damon Wayans in Beverly Hills Cop, Martin Lawrence in Boomerang, Samuel L. Jackson in Coming to America, Dave Chappelle in The Nutty Professor and Chris Rock who was in Beverly Hills Cop II and Boomerang.

David Spade poked fun at Murphy's career slump on his Hollywood Minute segment on Saturday Night Live. With an image of Murphy on screen, Spade said "Look children, a falling star...make a wish!"

Although Murphy is one of the biggest movie stars ever to come out of Saturday Night Live, he's never attended any cast reunions, anniversary specials, or even participated in the making of the Live From New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live retrospective book by Tom Shales and James Andrew Miller (2002). Some believe Murphy feels that SNL betrayed him with Spade's comments (although he hadn't attended the 15th Anniversary special before the comments were made). Others believe it has to do with Murphy having no allegiance to Lorne Michaels, since Murphy was brought on the show by executive producer Jean Doumanian after Michaels had left, and was one of the few cast members retained by Dick Ebersol when she was replaced.

Murphy's box office results began to recover in 1996, starting with The Nutty Professor. He followed with a series of successful family-friendly movies (Mulan, Dr. Dolittle and its sequel, the Shrek series, Daddy Day Care, and The Haunted Mansion), along with Nutty Professor II, which some attribute to his real-life role as a family man.

Most of his movies meant for more adult audiences were not hits (Holy Man, Metro, The Adventures of Pluto Nash, I Spy, and Showtime). But his fortunes turned around in 2006/2007 with the motion picture version of the Broadway musical Dreamgirls as soul singer James "Thunder" Early. Murphy won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor, as well as a Screen Actors Guild Award and a Broadcast Film Critics Association Award in that category. Several reviews for the film highlighted Murphy's performance while he received some pre-release Academy Awards buzz. Murphy was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor on January 23, 2007. Bookmakers currently have him as the 1-3 favourite to win the award.

Dreamgirls was the first film from Paramount Pictures to star Murphy (who once signed an exclusive contract with the studio) since Vampire in Brooklyn in 1995. As a result of Viacom's acquisition of DreamWorks, Paramount will distribute two more of Eddie Murphy's films in 2007: Norbit and Shrek the Third.

Murphy is expected to begin work on Beverly Hills Cop IV sometime in the near future, and it is expected that producer Jerry Bruckheimer will not participate in the fourth installment of the series. Murphy recently told the Sun Online that “the new script is looking good.”

Murphy has donated money to the AIDS Foundation, the Martin Luther King Jr. Center, various cancer charities and $100,000 to the Screen Actors' Guild's strike relief fund. He also reinvests heavily in his own organizations. In addition, toward the end of 2006, he and fellow Roosevelt High School alumnus Julius "Dr. J" Erving quietly gave over a million dollars to the ailing school district to assist with the continuation of the sports program.

Murphy was rumored to have dated Whitney Houston before meeting his wife. He began a longtime romantic relationship with Nicole Mitchell after meeting her in 1988 at an NAACP Image Awards show. They lived together for a year and a half before getting married at the Grand Ballroom of The Plaza Hotel in New York City on March 18, 1993. They had five children together, but in August 2005, Mitchell filed for divorce, citing "irreconcilable differences." The divorce was finalized on April 17, 2006.

Following his divorce from Mitchell, he dated Melanie Brown who has stated that her unborn child is Murphy's. When questioned about the pregnancy at a movie premiere in December 2006, Murphy told a reporter, "I don't know whose child that is until it comes out and has a blood test. You shouldn't jump to conclusions, sir." Murphy is presently dating film producer Tracey Edmonds.

Murphy is a Freemason, part of the Hollywood Lodge No. 542, North Hollywood, CA

Television

* The PJ's (1999-2001) (voice)
* What's Alan Watching? (1989)
* Eddie Murphy Delirious (1983)
* Saturday Night Live (cast member from 1980-1984)

Movies

* 48 Hours (1982)
* Trading Places (1983)
* Best Defense (1984)
* Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
* The Golden Child (1986)
* Beverly Hills Cop II (1987)
* Eddie Murphy Raw (1987)
* Coming to America (1988)
* Harlem Nights (1989)
* Another 48 Hours (1990)
* Boomerang (1992)
* The Distinguished Gentleman (1992)
* Beverly Hills Cop III (1994)
* Vampire in Brooklyn (1995)
* The Nutty Professor (1996)
* Einstein:The Mad Scientist (1997)
* Metro (1997)
* Dr. Dolittle (1998)
* Holy Man (1998)
* Mulan (1998) (voice)
* Bowfinger (1999)
* Life (1999)
* Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (2000)
* Dr. Dolittle 2 (2001)
* Shrek (2001)
* Showtime (2002)
* The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002)
* I Spy (2002)
* Daddy Day Care (2003)
* Shrek 4-D (2003)
* The Haunted Mansion (2003)
* Shrek 2 (2004)
* From Hair To Eternity (2006)
* Dreamgirls (2006)
* Norbit (2007)
* Shrek the Third (2007)

Salary

* Best Defense (1984) $3,000,000
* Beverly Hills Cop III (1994) $23,000,000
* The Nutty Professor (1996) $20,000,000
* Dr. Dolittle (1998) $20,000,000
* Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (2000) $20,000,000 + $36,633,393 (20% of the $181,166,965 gross)
* Shrek (2001) $13,000,000
* Dr. Dolittle 2 (2001) $20,000,000
* The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002) $20,000,000
* Shrek 2 (2004) $10,000,000
* Shrek the Third (2007) $38,500,000
* Dreamgirls (2006) $30,000,000

Upcoming

* Shrek the Third (2007) (voice)
* Norbit (2007)
* Starship Dave (2008)
* Beverly Hills Cop IV (2009)
* Shrek 4 (2010) (voice)

Studio albums

* Eddie Murphy (1982) (comedy)
* Comedian (1983) (comedy)
* How Could it Be (1985) (music)
* So Happy (1987) (music)
* Love's Alright (1992) (music)

Compilation albums

* Greatest Comedy Hits (1997) (comedy)
* All I "$%*@**" Know (1998) (comedy)

Film Soundtracks

* Dreamgirls (2006) (with Beyonce Knowles, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Hudson, Anika Noni Rose, Keith Robinson and Sharon Leal)

Singles

* "Boogie In Your Butt/No More Tears" (Columbia, 1982) (comedy/music)
* "Party All The Time" (featuring Rick James) (Columbia, 1985) (music)
* "How Could It Be" (featuring Crystal Blake) (Columbia, 1985) (music)
* "Put Your Mouth On Me" (Columbia, 1989) (music)
* "Til The Money's Gone" (Columbia, 1989) (music)
* "I Was A King" (Motown, 1993) (music)
* "Whatzupwitu" (featuring Michael Jackson) (Motown, 1993) (music)
* "Desdemona" (Motown, 1993) (music)Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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