Eddie Murphy, Comedian   Leave a comment


Edward ReganEddieMurphy (born April 3, 1961) is an American stand-up comedian, actor, writer, singer, director, and musician.

Box office takes from Murphy’s films make him the second-highest grossing actor in the United States.[2][3] He was a regular cast member on Saturday Night Live from 1980 to 1984 and has worked as a stand-up comedian. He was ranked #10 on Comedy Central‘s list of the 100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time.[4]

He has received Golden Globe Award nominations for his performances in 48 Hrs, Beverly Hills Cop series, Trading Places, and The Nutty Professor. In 2007, he won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor and received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of soul singer James “Thunder” Early in Dreamgirls.[5]

Eddie Murphy’s work as a voice actor includes Thurgood Stubbs in The PJs, Donkey in the Shrek series and the dragon Mushu in Disney’s Mulan. In some of his films, he plays multiple roles in addition to his main character, intended as a tribute to one of his idols Peter Sellers, who played multiple roles in Dr. Strangelove and elsewhere. Murphy has played multiple roles in Coming to America, Wes Craven‘s Vampire In Brooklyn, the Nutty Professor films (where he played the title role in two incarnations, plus his father, brother, mother, and grandmother), Bowfinger, Norbit, and Meet Dave.

Early life

Murphy grew up in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn.[6] His mother, Lillian, was a telephone operator, and his father, Charles Edward Murphy, was a transit police officer and an amateur actor and comedian.[1][7][8][9] His father died when he was young. When Murphy’s single mom became ill, the eight-year-old Eddie Murphy and his older brother lived in foster care for one year.[10] In interviews, the actor and comedian says that his time in foster care was influential in developing his sense of humour. Later Murphy and his older brother Charlie were raised in Roosevelt, New York by his mother and stepfather Vernon Lynch, a foreman at an ice cream plant.[1] Around the age of 15, Murphy was writing and performing his own routines, which were heavily influenced by Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor.[1]

Career

Stand-up comedy

Murphy performed stand-up at the same Bay Area Comedy Club as Robin Williams and Whoopi Goldberg. His early comedy was characterized by frequent swearing and sketches lampooning a diverse group of people (including WASPs, African Americans, Italian Americans, overweight people, and gay people). This racy content was akin to that of Richard Pryor, whom Murphy has credited as his inspiration to enter comedy;[1] however, in his autobiography, Pryor Convictions, Pryor wrote that he found Murphy’s comedy at times excessively insensitive. Murphy later apologized for insensitive jokes about gay people and HIV. The stand-up shows Delirious and Raw have been recorded and released.

1980s acting career

Murphy in 1988

Murphy first earned attention as a regular actor at Saturday Night Live, and was credited with helping revitalize the series during its first true slump in quality in the early 1980s.[11] Some of his notable characters included a grown version of the Little Rascals character Buckwheat,[12] impoverished but street-wise children’s show host Mr. Robinson (a spoof of Fred Rogers, who found it amusing),[13] and Gumby,[12] a harshly cynical version of the animated character; Murphy’s take on the latter character spawned one of SNL’s many catchphrases, “I’m Gumby, dammit!” Although Buckwheat was his most popular character, Murphy asked that he be retired because the actor grew tired of people asking him to “Do Buckwheat! Do Buckwheat!”; the character was assassinated on camera in front of 30 Rockefeller Plaza.[14]

In 1982, Murphy made his big screen debut in the film 48 Hrs. with Nick Nolte.[1] 48 Hrs. proved to be a hit when it was released in the Christmas season of 1982. Nolte was scheduled to host the December 11, 1982 Christmas episode of Saturday Night Live, but became too ill to host, so Murphy took over. 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 following year, Murphy starred in Trading Places with fellow SNL alumnus Dan Aykroyd.[1] 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 successful action comedy film Beverly Hills Cop.[1] The film was Murphy’s first full-fledged starring vehicle, originally intended to star Sylvester Stallone (who later tweaked the script as his own starring vehicle Cobra in 1986).[1] Beverly Hills Cop grossed over $230 million at the box office and is 40th in the list of all-time total U.S. box office grosses (4th-highest amongst “R” rated films), after adjusting for inflation, as of March 2011[update].[15]

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. When he hosted SNL, Murphy joined the chorus of those bashing Best Defense, calling it “the worst movie in the history of everything”. Murphy’s Trading Places co-star Dan Aykroyd had originally written the character of Winston Zeddemore in Ghostbusters specifically for Murphy, but he was unable to commit at the time due to the Beverly Hills Cop shooting schedule. The part 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[16] Murphy’s near-exclusive contract with Paramount Pictures rivaled Star Trek as Paramount’s most lucrative franchise.

In 1986, Murphy starred in the supernatural comedy, The Golden Child.[1] 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 (featuring Murphy’s “I want the knife!” routine) performed well at the box office, the movie was not 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. It was a box office success, grossing over $150 million. Producers reportedly wanted to turn the Beverly Hills Cop franchise into a weekly television series. Murphy declined the television 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.

Singing career

Murphy is also a singer and musician, having frequently provided background vocals to songs released by The Bus Boys, which their song “The Boys Are Back in Town” was featured in 48 Hrs. and Murphy’s comedy special Eddie Murphy Delirious. 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 mid-1980s (although he actually started singing earlier in his career, with the songs “Boogie In Your Butt” and “Enough Is Enough”, the latter being a parody of Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer‘s 1979 song, “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)“. They both appear on his 1982 self-titled comedy album.) “Party All the Time” was featured on Murphy’s 1985 debut album How Could It Be, which included a minor follow-up R&B hit in the title track, a duet with vocalist Crystal Blake. This track was written by Rusty Hamilton and was produced by Stevie Wonder’s cousin Aquil Fudge after a brief falling out and bet with Rick James. In 2004, VH-1 and Blender voted “Party All the Time” number seven among the “50 Worst Songs of All-Time.” Sharam used a sample of the song for the UK #8 hit “PATT (Party All The Time)” in 2006.

Murphy recorded the album Love’s Alright in the early 1990s. He performed in a music video of the single “Whatzupwitu“, featuring Michael Jackson. He recorded a duet with Shabba Ranks called “I Was a King”. In 1992, Murphy appeared in Michael Jackson’s “Remember the Time” alongside Magic Johnson and Iman.

Though uncredited, Murphy provided vocal work on SNL castmate Joe Piscopo‘s comedy single, “The Honeymooners Rap.”[citation needed] Piscopo impersonated Jackie Gleason on the single, while Murphy provided an imitation of Art Carney.

In Coming to America, he imitated Jackie Wilson when he sang “To Be Loved”, but because the character he was playing had a thick accent, he had to sing it in character. In later years, Murphy performed several songs in the Shrek film franchise. 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.

Murphy’s all-time favorite singer is Elvis Presley.

Career slump

From 1989 until the mid 1990s, box office results for Murphy’s films dropped, hitting a low point with the critically panned Beverly Hills Cop III (1994),[17] a movie Murphy would ultimately denounce during an appearance on Inside the Actors Studio,[1] although he did find minor box office success with Boomerang, Another 48 Hrs. and Vampire In Brooklyn. Harlem Nights featured Murphy, who had previously been known only as a performer, as director, producer, star, and co-writer, with his brother, Charlie Murphy, as well as supporting roles for Murphy’s comic idols Redd Foxx and Richard Pryor.[1]

During this period Murphy was criticized by filmmaker Spike Lee for not using his show business stature to help black actors break into film, despite Murphy’s films (especially those he produced) often being populated with predominantly black casts (Coming To America, Harlem Nights, Boomerang, Vampire In Brooklyn, Life). Many black actors who would later gain wider recognition make early appearances in Murphy films such as Damon Wayans in Beverly Hills Cop, Halle Berry and Martin Lawrence in Boomerang, Samuel L. Jackson and Cuba Gooding Jr. in Coming to America, Dave Chappelle in The Nutty Professor and Chris Rock in Beverly Hills Cop II.

Although Murphy has enjoyed commercial success since Saturday Night Live, he has never attended cast reunions or anniversary specials, nor did he participate 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).

Comeback and image makeover

Murphy’s box office results began to recover in 1996, starting with The Nutty Professor. He followed with a series of very successful family-friendly movies like Mulan, Dr. Dolittle and its sequel, the Shrek series, Daddy Day Care, and The Haunted Mansion, along with Nutty Professor II: The Klumps. However, most of his movies meant for more adult audiences performed moderately; Metro, I Spy, and Showtime all ended to gross less than $40 million domestically, Holy Man performed poorly, grossing less than $13 million, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash is on record as one of the biggest theatrical money-losers of all time, grossing just $7 million worldwide on a reported $110 million budget. A notable exception to this run of poorly received adult-themed films was the Frank Oz comedy Bowfinger, also starring Steve Martin. The film garnered generally positive critical reviews, and grossed $98 million at the box office.

In 2006, he starred in 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.[18] Murphy was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor on January 23, 2007, but lost to Alan Arkin for his performance in Little Miss Sunshine. Dreamgirls was the first film distributed by Paramount Pictures to star Murphy (who once was on an exclusive contract with the studio) since Vampire in Brooklyn in 1995.

In 2007, Murphy was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.[19][20] As a result of Viacom‘s acquisition of Dreamworks SKG, Paramount distributed his other 2007 releases: Norbit and Shrek the Third. He starred in the 2008 film Meet Dave and the 2009 film Imagine That for Paramount Pictures.

Murphy co-starred in Tower Heist, directed by Brett Ratner. Murphy played a thief who joins a group of hardworking men who find out they have fallen victim to a wealthy businessman’s Ponzi scheme, and conspire to rob his high-rise residence. Ben Stiller, Matthew Broderick, and Casey Affleck also starred in the film, released on November 4, 2011.[1][21][22]

It was reported in late 2011 that Murphy would host the 84th Academy Awards in 2012. However, he dropped out of his hosting duties on November 9, 2011, in wake of the Brett Ratner scandal.[23]

Personal life

Family

Eddie Murphy in Hollywood Walk of Fame

He also has a child by Tamara Hood: son Christian Murphy (born on 29 November 1990).[24]

Murphy began a longtime romantic relationship with Nicole Mitchell (born January 5, 1968) after meeting her in 1988 at an NAACP Image Awards show. They lived together for almost two years before getting married at the Grand Ballroom of The Plaza Hotel in New York City on March 18, 1993.[25] Murphy and Mitchell had five children together: Bria L. Murphy (born November 18, 1989), Myles Mitchell (born November 7, 1992), Shayne Audra (born October 10, 1994), Zola Ivy (born December 24, 1999) and Bella Zahra (born January 29, 2002). In August 2005, Mitchell filed for divorce, citing “irreconcilable differences“. The divorce was finalized on April 17, 2006.[26]

Murphy as of 2008 resided in Long Island, New York.[27]

Following his divorce from Mitchell, in 2006, Murphy began dating former Spice Girl Melanie Brown, who became pregnant and stated that the child was Murphy’s. When questioned about the pregnancy in December 2006 by RTL Boulevard, Murphy told Dutch reporter Matthijs Kleyn, “I don’t know whose child that is until it comes out and has a blood test. You shouldn’t jump to conclusions, sir”.[28] Brown gave birth to a baby girl, Angel Iris Murphy Brown, on Murphy’s 46th birthday, April 3, 2007. On June 22, 2007, representatives for Brown announced in People that a DNA test had confirmed that Murphy was the father.[29] Brown has stated in an interview that Murphy has not sought a relationship with Angel.[30][31]

Murphy exchanged marriage vows with film producer Tracey Edmonds, former wife of Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, on January 1, 2008, in a private ceremony on an island off Bora Bora.[32] On January 16, the couple released a statement saying, “After much consideration and discussion, we have jointly decided that we will forego having a legal ceremony as it is not necessary to define our relationship further,” and called the Bora Bora wedding a “symbolic union”. The two had planned on having a legal ceremony upon their return to the U.S. but did not, and their wedding was never official.[33]

Legal problems

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.

In May 1997, Murphy was stopped by police with a transvestite prostitute in his car shortly before the release of Holy Man, causing him a number of public relations problems.[34][35]

Philanthropy

Murphy has donated money to the AIDS Foundation, and cancer, education, creative arts, family/parent support, health and homeless charities. He has donated to the Martin Luther King Jr. Center, various cancer charities and $100,000 to the Screen Actors’ Guild‘s strike relief fund.[36]

Posted March 3, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Uncategorized

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