Eddie Murphy is one of the most popular and well-known comedians in the entertainment industry. His Hollywood success has seen him show off his talent at standup and impersonations as well as star in multiple hit movies. He was a dominant voice of comedy throughout the ’80s and ’90s and is a favorite face in many movies today. We’re reflecting on the life and times of Eddie Murphy to learn a little more about his history and to recap some memorable moments.
Born In Brooklyn
Eddie Murphy was born on April 3rd, 1961, in Brooklyn, New York. Although today Brooklyn is a hub of gentrification, at the time of his birth it was a little more rough around the edges.
He was born into a family that was made up of mother Lillian, a telephone operator; Charles Edward Murphy, a police officer; and Charlie Murphy, his older brother who went on to become a comedian too.
He Had A Turbulent Childhood
At just three years old, Murphy’s parents got divorced and then at age five his father tragically died. His mother also became very ill during this period, leaving the two boys no option but to go into foster care for a year until their mother was fit to look after them.
Life wasn’t easy growing up, however, when Murphy was nine years old, his mother re-married Vernon Lynch. This ice cream plant foreman changed the family’s direction when he moved them to Long Island.
Performing Was Always Part Of His Life
Eddie’s late father was a popular amateur comedian, and although he didn’t have a platform for his comedy in the same way Eddie’s generation did, he was always cracking jokes. The Murphy comedy gene certainly passed down to both boys, who started comedy at a young age.
Eddie used to watch a lot of television programs and impersonate characters such as Bugs Bunny and Bullwinkle. He would perform in clubs and bars as a teen and was voted “most popular” in his graduating school class!
Murphy Went To School And College Before Making It
Although Eddie Murphy was always a talented comedian, he had to go to college and work like everybody else and for a time it looked like his life might turn out a little bit ordinary. In his free time he was still dedicated to impersonation and comedy, but in his days he studied and worked.
He was a student at Nassau Community College and took on a part-time job at a shoe store to make ends meet.
Saturday Night Live Was His First Big Show
In 1981, Eddie decided that he wanted to change the direction of his life and venture into comedy for real. He auditioned to be part of Saturday Night Live, a late-night comedy show that was known for its cheeky, controversial comedy that suited Eddie to a tee.
He nailed the part and was initially given a role as a featured player. As his popularity grew, he received more and more screen time. He stayed on the NBC show for four seasons.
The ’80s Saw Murphy Star In Many Movies
After kicking off the ’80s with a bang, Eddie continued his success streak and landed his first major movie role in 1982. The movie, 48 Hours, was a great success and Murphy was hailed as an emerging comedy talent.
Following this, in 1983 he landed Trading Places and then one of his most memorable performances in 1984’s Beverly Hills Cop. Following this fabulous performance he was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and became famous the world over.
Eddie’s Career Hit A Blip In The Late 80s
During the early ’80s, everyone wanted a piece of Eddie Murphy and he became a serious actor, but it wasn’t to last.
Eddie slowed down a little bit around the late ’80s and had a bit of a flop with a couple of films so he decided to give them a break in 1990. He had a lot going on at the time in his personal life and his movies were becoming commercial failures, so it was time for a change.
His First Child Was Born At The Height Of His Career
In 1989, Eddie had his first child with Paulette McNeely on July 10. At the height of his stardom, he had a relationship of sorts with his mystery lady, who has kept out of the spotlight completely since her connection to Murphy.
His son Eric is now 26 and is pretty much out of the media completely. As for Paulette McNeely, not much is known about her as she has never been photographed in all the years since giving birth to Eric. Talk about keeping a low profile!
His Second, Christian, Was Born Soon After
In 1990 he was blessed with another son with his then on/ off girlfriend Tamara Hood (pictured). Christian Murphy was born on November 29, 1990.
Tamara and Eddie remained friends, however, she also kept a pretty low profile as her son grew up. Christian went on to work in Hollywood and is still forging a career in movies. He appeared in Cougars, Inc. in 2011 but has led a relatively private life since then. In this recent photo, he’s second from left.
He Was Married For 13 Years
From 1990-1993 Eddie remained pretty secretive about his life and was not very involved in the world of acting. This time allowed him to take a break and meet Nicole Mitchell, who he went on to marry in 1993.
They lived together for two years prior to having their first child, Bria, in 1989 and following that they had four more children during their marriage. This relationship has been considered Eddie Murphy’s most serious and long-standing.
A ’90s Comeback
After a few years off and some unsuccessful movies behind him, Eddie decided to get back into acting. He starred in the hit movie The Nutty Professor, where he played a scientist who finds a crazy weight-loss cure.
The movie was a major success for Murphy, and he was honored in the Best Actor category by the National Society of Film Critics Awards. His career was back on the right track and his family life way happy – it seemed that everything was working out for Murphy.
Shortly after The Nutty Professor became a box office hit and Eddie Murphy became a household name, he was at the center of a sex scandal. Murphy was four years into his marriage to Nicole when police pulled him over at five in the morning.
The offense was picking up a prostitute from the side of Santa Monica Boulevard. Murphy insisted that he was giving the transsexual person, who he thought was a young, vulnerable woman, a lift home. He was raked over the coals by the press for an act which was likely a humanitarian effort.
He Was The Voice Behind Donkey
Shrek was one of the most iconic animated movies of the early 21st century, and it wouldn’t have had the same reception if it wasn’t for the wonderful, much-loved Donkey character played by Eddie Murphy.
Despite coming under some scrutiny in the years prior, Murphy was able to regain the public’s respect and love with the voice of Shrek’s sidekick. The movie was a massive hit and grossed over $200 million at the box office!
Murphy Went On To Have Many Children With His Wife
Between 1993 and 2006 Eddie Murphy was happily married to Nicole Murphy. The pair were lucky enough to have five children together – Bria, Myles, Shayne, Zola, and Bella.
Sadly, in 2006 Nicole, an ex-laywer herself, decided to take legal action to divorce Eddie Murphy. In the papers she cited “irreconcilable differences.” Happily, the two still remain friends and have a good relationship with all of their children.
He Landed A Role In Dreamgirls
In 2006, the hit movie Dreamgirls hit the big screen. Murphy played the role of James Early, alongside Beyonce and Jamie Foxx. Not many people know that Jamie Foxx actually turned down the role until he heard that other big names were in.
Murphy won a Golden Globe for his performance and was also nominated for the Best Supporting Actor Golden Globe and the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Later in his career, Murphy was establishing himself as a serious actor.
Eddie Had A Kid With Mel B
After the breakdown of his marriage in 2006, Murphy hit the dating scene. He dated the ex Spice Girl Melanie Brown who has recently opened up about the relationship, claiming that he was the love of her life.
The relationship ended on a sour note with Murphy denying that her now-12-year-old daughter was not his. A blood test after her birth proved that Angel Murphy Brown was his daughter and Eddie was forced to apologize.
Eddie Murphy Was Supposed To Host The Academy Awards
In 2011, Eddie Murphy was lined up to present the Academy Awards in 2012, which was set to be an amazing gig for him. However, sadly Murphy’s creative partner, Brett Ratner made a “homophobic” remark which meant he had to resign as creative producer of the Academy Awards.
Following his friend and producer, Murphy chose to pull out of hosting the Academy Awards. Many thought that this was a publicity stunt for his upcoming Tower Heist movie.
He Starred In A Movie That Totally Flopped
Between 2006 and the late noughties, nothing really happened for Eddie Murphy. In 2011 he made one his worst career decisions when he agreed to star in The Adventures of Pluto Nash. It was a low point in his career and was one of the least successful movies of its time. In fact, it was one of the biggest money-losing movies ever created!
The comeback didn’t look to be going so well for Eddie as his other 2011 movie Tower Heist was just as unsuccessful.
Saturday Night Live – Round Two
Murphy reportedly felt on the outs with SNL due to nasty comments made about the decline of his career, but in 2014 the tables looked to be turning when he decided to return to Saturday Night Live for a stand-up sketch.
Sadly, the comeback was not meant to be and critics slammed him for an awkward and mediocre performance. Despite loud applause and the support of fellow comedian Chris Rock, the Saturday Night Live episode was a flop for Eddie.
Coming 2 America Sequel Set For 2020
Eddie Murphy is set to star in the Coming to America sequel in 2020. Paramount has decided to take on the sequel and Eddie has agreed to be part of it. He has had a longstanding relationship with the studio and was one of the last people to sign a retainer contract with them.
The new story will see him play Prince Akeem, returning to America in order to find his long-lost son. It’s set to hit theaters in 2020, so keep your eyes peeled for more from Eddie Murphy!