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Eddie Murphy

Eddie Murphy

Eddie Murphy

NAME: Eddie Murphy OCCUPATION: Film Actor, Television Actor, Comedian BIRTH DATE: April 03, 1961 (Age: 51) PLACE OF BIRTH: Brooklyn, New York

BEST KNOWN FOR Actor and comedian Eddie Murphy began doing stand-up as a teenager. He became a popular Saturday Night Live cast member and starred in several box office hits.

BEST KNOWN FOR Actor and comedian Eddie Murphy began doing stand-up as a teenager. He became a popular Saturday Night Live cast member and starred in several box office hits.

Mainstream Success

Early Life

He spent his early years in the projects of Bushwick with his father, Charles Murphy, a New York City police officer and amateur comedian, his mother, Lillian Murphy, a telephone operator, and his brother Charles.His parents divorced when he was three; five years later, his father died and his mother went into the hospital for an extended period.Murphy watched a lot of television growing up and developed a great skill for impressions, doing such characters as Bugs Bunny, Bullwinkle, and Sylvester the Cat. "My mother says I never talked in my own voice," Murphy later said.

Although he was never a dedicated student, Murphy found a great forum for his verbal agility in grade school, excelling in the popular game of "ranking"—trading witty insults with classmates. Hosting a talent show at the Roosevelt Youth Center at age 15, Murphy delighted his young audience with an impersonation of Al Green.This early success ignited a passion for showbiz, and Murphy began working on his comedy routines after school and performing stand-up at local bars, clubs, and "gong shows." His schoolwork suffered, however, and Murphy had to repeat the 10th grade as a result.

By doubling up on classes, and attending summer and night school, he graduated only a couple of months late. Murphy was voted the "most popular" boy in his graduating class. His declared career plan: comedian.

When Murphy learned that the producers of NBC's popular late night comedy show, Saturday Night Live, were seeking a black cast member for the 1980-81 seasons, he jumped on the opportunity. He auditioned for the past six times, and finally earned a place as an extra on the show. He appeared sporadically throughout the season, until one fateful night when producers realized they had four minutes of airtime remaining and no material. They pushed Murphy before the camera, and told him to do his stand-up routine. His improvised performance was called "masterful" by Rolling Stone, and Murphy became one of only two cast members (along with Joe Piscopo) asked back for the next season.

Responding to the pleas of his mother, Murphy enrolled at Nassau Community College and worked part-time as a shoe store clerk. He continued to perform in local clubs, and eventually worked his way into such New York City venues as the Comic Strip, billing himself as a disciple of the great comedian Richard Pryor.

Although his raunchy, profanity-ridden routines resembled his idol's, Murphy stayed away from drinking, smoking, and drugs, and would later declare to Barbara Walters, "I don't have to sniff cocaine to make me funny."

Murphy became Saturday Night Live’s strongest comedic presence, creating

In 1982, Murphy received a Grammy nomination for a live album of fresh stand-up material called Eddie Murphy: Comedian. The album eventually went gold. That same year, at the age of 21, he also landed his first major motion picture role alongside Nick Nolte in 48 Hours (1982). He approached the role with confidence and ingenuity, convincing director Walter Hill to adjust some of the dialogue to more genuinely depict a black speaker. His charming and inspired performance as the fast-talking convict stole the film, and 48 Hours grossed over $5 million in its first week.

On the Big Screen

A highlight of his career during this time was the romantic comedy Coming to America (1988), co-starring Arsenio Hall. In the film, both Murphy and Hall were able to demonstrate their

comedic versatilty by playing multiple characters within the film. Audiences loved Murphy's performances and the movie became a box office smash, grossing more than $128 million in the U.S. alone.

Personal Life

In January of 2008, Murphy announced his split with film producer Tracey Edmonds. The couple married in French Polynesia on New Year's Day of that year in front of 25 family members and friends. When it turned out that the celebration was not legally binding, Murphy and his new wife planned to renew their vows on American soil. The second ceremony never took place, however, and the couple officially separated.Murphy continues to work as an actor and comedian.

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