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Born: Apr. 3, 1961 Brooklyn, New York, USA
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Eddie was born in Brooklyn, New York on April 3rd, 1961. He was always entertaining his friends and family with his gift for voices and characterization. In his late teens he started entering talent contests and working in local clubs on Long Island. He eventually hit clubs in New York City. He worked hard, supporting himself with a job in shoe store while he performed in clubs and attended Nassau Community College.
In 1980, he auditioned for Saturday Night Live and won a spot as a featured player. His talent for characters did not go unnoticed by the audience and pretty soon Murphy was a regular. For four years, he brought characters like Gumby, Mr. Robinson, Tyrone Green and Buckwheat to the small screen. Soon the big screen came knocking.
Eddie Murphy’s first film role was in 1982’s hit 48 Hrs. with Nick Nolte. His smooth-talking persona also served him well in Trading Places (1983). He was already riding high with those two films under his belt. He landed a $15 million development deal with Paramount. He was a huge comedy concert attraction and his comedy albums were big sellers. He was a hot property that was about to get hotter.
In 1984, Murphy starred in the film that really put his career in orbit: Beverly Hills Cop. The film grossed over $300 million worldwide. He rapidly followed that up with The Golden Child, Beverly Hills Cop II and Coming to America, and even did big numbers with his concert film Eddie Murphy Raw. He was at the top of his game and had all the star trappings: a large entourage, the power to help friends like Arsenio Hall, and even good play on MTV for his awful song Party All the Time. With all of his clout, African-American groups and artists like Spike Lee thought he could help to further break down the barriers in the power corridors of Hollywood. When they thought he wasn’t doing enough, he started to get a lot of flak.
Murphy started to see the turning tide when he released Harlem Nights, a film he wrote, produced, directed and starred in. The film also starred some of Murphy’s comic heroes, like Redd Foxx and Richard Pryor. The film was met by hissing critics and absent audiences.
Another 48 Hrs. reteamed him with Nolte, but didn’t have the flash of the original. The Distinguished Gentleman, Boomerang and even Beverly Hills Cop III all failed to fully excite the audience. Whispers turned louder that his career had lost its shine.
That all changed in 1996 when Murphy remade The Nutty Professor. Murphy had fun playing the many members of the Klump family and the audience sensed the energy to the tune of over $240 million worldwide. He received good notices for his voiceover work in Mulan and did good business with Doctor Dolittle. 1998 saw the release of Holy Man (which didn’t do too well), but Murphy spent 1999 teamed up with two other comedy stars: Martin Lawrence in Life and Steve Martin in Bowfinger.
Murphy also spread his wings by executive-producing and voicing the claymation show The PJs. His home life has been successful too. He married model Nicole Mitchell in 1993, and the couple are the proud parents of four children.
In 2001, Murphy lent his vocal and comedic talents to Dreamworks’ Shrek. He then teamed up with Robert De Niro in 2002’s Showtime.
Two other films that didn’t perform well for Murphy were 2002’s The Adventures of Pluto Nash and I Spy. His good fortune returned in 2003 with the family comedy Daddy Day Care. That same year, he starred in The Haunted Mansion, the second Disney film to be based on one of their theme park rides.
In 2004, Murphy once again teamed with Diaz and Myers to voice Shrek 2.
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