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*On this date in 1961, Eddie Murphy was born. He is a Black actor, director, writer, and comedian.
From Brooklyn, NY, Edward Regan Murphy’s father was a police officer who died when young Eddie was three. His mother, Lillian, was a telephone operator. He graduated from Roosevelt Junior-Senior High School in Roosevelt, NY, and was voted "Most Popular.” Murphy was writing and performing his own routines at youth centers, local bars, and at his High School auditorium in suburban Long Island by the age of 15. Soon thereafter, Murphy headed to the renowned The Comic Strip. At 19, Murphy landed an audition for the new cast of TV's Saturday Night Live (SNL) and was signed as a featured player for the 1980-81 seasons.
During his four years on "SNL," Murphy created unforgettable characters such as prison poet Tyrone Green, the grown-up Gumby, and TV huckster Velvet Jones. Murphy made his film debut in 48 Hrs co-starring Nick Nolte. Another early movie was Trading Places with former "SNL" star Dan Akroyd. While only 21 years old, Murphy's made his third film, Beverly Hills Cop in 1984. Then came The Golden Child and Beverly Hills Cop II in 1987. A comedian first and foremost, in 1983 and 1984 his original stand-up material was released on two comedy LPs, Eddie Murphy and Eddie Murphy: Comedian. Eddie Murphy received Grammy nominations as Best Comedy Recording and Best R&B Instrumental Performance for the instrumental version of the hit single Boogie Your Butt. Eddie Murphy Comedian brought Murphy the 1984 Grammy for Best Comedy Album of the Year.
His triumphant return to the comedy stage in a nationwide concert tour resulted in Paramount Pictures' Raw. Other big-screen credits include Coming To America 1988 and Harlem Nights 1989, which marked Murphy's debut as a director and producer. Another 48 Hrs, Beverly Hills Cop II & III, and Boomerang, The Distinguished Gentleman, and Vampire In Brooklyn followed. The worldwide grosses of these movies total more than $1 billion for his company, Eddie Murphy Productions, which is based in New York to develop and produce film, television, and concert tour projects.
Murphy’s last three feature films include Shrek 2001, Dr. Dolittle 2, 2001, and Showtime 2002. In 1988, Murphy received the People's Choice Award for Best Comedy Actor; "Entertainer of the Year" NAACP Image Award; and The Tree Of Life Award presented at the Black Oscar nominees dinner. He has hosted the Emmy, Grammy, MTV, and Academy Award shows. Murphy lends support to a number of humanitarian causes and organizations such as the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Non-Violent Social Change in Atlanta, the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and the AIDS Foundation.
He is also at the forefront in Hollywood for providing opportunities and positions in the industry for Black actors, writers, producers, directors, and other "behind-the-camera" talent. A devoted father, Murphy currently resides in New Jersey with his wife Nicole and their three children.
The Encyclopedia Britannica, Fifteenth Edition.
Copyright 1996 Encyclopedia Britannica Inc.
The World Book Encyclopedia.
Copyright 1996, World Book, Inc.