Here’s a look at the life of Oscar-nominated actor, writer, director, singer and comedian Eddie Murphy.
Birth date: April 3, 1961
Birth place: Brooklyn, New York
Birth name: Edward Regan Murphy
Father: Charles Murphy, police officer
Mother: Lillian Murphy, telephone operator
Marriage: Nicole Mitchell (March 18, 1993-April 17, 2006, divorced)
Children: with Paige Butcher: Max and Izzy; with Melanie Brown (Mel B, aka Scary Spice): Angel; with Nicole Mitchell: Bella, Zola, Shayne, Miles and Bria; with Tamara Hood: Christian; with Paulette McNeely: Eric
Education: Attended Nassau Community College
Nominated for three Grammy Awards and won one.
Nominated for one Academy Award.
Nominated for five Primetime Emmy Awards and won one.
Murphy’s childhood heroes include Richard Pryor, Elvis Presley and Jerry Lewis.
When Murphy was three years old, his parents split up. His father was murdered by a girlfriend five years later. Murphy was raised by his mother and stepfather, Vernon Lynch.
His flair for celebrity voices springs from watching and imitating cartoons as a kid.
Demonstrating his slapstick versatility, Murphy portrayed multiple characters in “Coming to America,” “Bowfinger,” “Norbit,” “Vampire in Brooklyn,” “Meet Dave,” “The Adventures of Pluto Nash” and two “Nutty Professor” films, in which he played five members of a deranged family, plus two other characters.
Murphy’s musical output includes two Billboard Hot 100 singles, “Party All the Time” and “Put Your Mouth on Me,” as well as a duet with Michael Jackson, “Whatzupwitu.” The 1993 duet was spotlighted as one of the lamest music videos of all time during a 1999 MTV special.
November 22, 1980 - Murphy makes his first appearance on “Saturday Night Live.” He had auditioned six times before he was hired as a featured player to occasionally appear in skits. The comedian later gets promoted to the main cast and portrays such characters as a petulant version of Gumby, a gleefully garbled Buckwheat and Mister Robinson, a parody of Mister Rogers. He and Joe Piscopo are the only members of the 1980 ensemble who aren’t fired at the end of the season.
December 8, 1982 - Murphy’s first movie, “48 Hrs.” is released. The action comedy centers on a thief (Murphy) who helps a cop (Nick Nolte) track down a murderous fugitive.
1983 - HBO airs Murphy’s concert special, “Eddie Murphy - Delirious.”
June 8, 1983 - “Trading Places,” a screwball comedy starring Murphy, Dan Aykroyd and Jamie Lee Curtis, debuts in theaters.
February 28, 1984 - Murphy’s live album, “Eddie Murphy: Comedian” wins a Grammy for Best Comedy Recording.
December 5, 1984 - “Beverly Hills Cop” opens. Sylvester Stallone had been originally slated to play the main character, Axel Foley, but he quit weeks before the shoot and Murphy replaced him.
December 15, 1984 - After launching his movie career, Murphy returns to “Saturday Night Live” as host and retires many of his popular characters.
December 18, 1987 - The comedy concert film, “Eddie Murphy Raw,” is released.
April 11, 1988 - Presenting the Best Picture award during the Oscars telecast, Murphy criticizes the Academy for failing to recognize the contributions of African-American performers throughout film history. He quips that he likely will never get an Oscar because of the remark.
November 17, 1989 - “Harlem Nights,” a passion project directed by Murphy, is released to mixed reviews and middling box office. Two of Murphy’s childhood idols, Richard Pryor and Redd Foxx, costar in the 1930s-period piece about a wild New York nightspot.
June 28, 1996 - Murphy makes a comeback with the release of “The Nutty Professor,” a Jerry Lewis remake.
May 2, 1997 - The comedian gets pulled over after offering a ride to an alleged transgender prostitute. A spokesman for Murphy says the star was simply trying to help someone who appeared to be troubled and alone.
January 10, 1999 - “The PJs,” a stop motion animated series co-created by Murphy and Larry Wilmore, debuts on Fox. The mordantly comical look at life in an urban housing project is criticized for perpetuating black stereotypes. The series garners three Primetime Emmy awards, two for voice actress, Ja’Net DuBois and one for achievement in animation. It’s canceled after three seasons.
May 16, 2001 - “Shrek,” a computer animated fairy tale about an ogre (Mike Myers) who befriends a hapless donkey (Murphy), opens and grosses $42 million during its first weekend.
May 19, 2004 - “Shrek 2” opens in theaters. The movie tallies $441 million in ticket sales, making it the top box office hit of 2004.
December 15, 2006 - “Dreamgirls” opens in limited release. Critics praise Murphy for his dramatic turn as James “Thunder” Early, a fading star struggling with addiction. Bill Condon, the director of “Dreamgirls,” tells Vanity Fair that Murphy was his first choice to play Early.
January 23, 2007 - Murphy earns a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for “Dreamgirls.” The award ultimately goes to Alan Arkin of “Little Miss Sunshine.”
September 6, 2011 - The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announces that Murphy will host the Oscars.
November 9, 2011 - Murphy says he is stepping down as Oscar host. He and director Brett Ratner were slated to collaborate on the show but Ratner quit amid controversy over his usage of an anti-gay slur. Billy Crystal is selected as Murphy’s replacement.
February 15, 2015 - During a “Saturday Night Live” 40th anniversary special, Murphy makes a brief appearance. He declines to participate in a sketch mocking Bill Cosby, according to a series of Tweets by writer and former cast member, Norm McDonald. Cosby expresses gratitude through a spokesman, telling NBC News, “I am very appreciative of Eddie and I applaud his actions.”
October 18, 2015 - Murphy is awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.
September 16, 2016 - After a four-year hiatus from the big screen, “Mr. Church” opens with Murphy playing the title role.
December 21, 2019 - Murphy returns to “Saturday Night Live” after 35 years, bringing back many of his most popular characters. The episode is the top rated show for “Saturday Night Live” in more than two years.
September 20, 2020 - Murphy wins an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor In A Comedy Series for hosting “Saturday Night Live” in December 2019.
March 5, 2021 - “Coming 2 America” debuts on Amazon.
January 10, 2023 - Receives the Cecil B. DeMille career achievement award at the 90th annual Golden Globes.
January 27, 2023 - “You People” debuts on Netflix, staring Murphy, Jonah Hill, Lauren London and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.