One actor we can all agree will be remembered for his great acting for many decades to come is Eddie Murphy. Murphy is a very good all-rounded Hollywood celebrity who makes most of the projects he's involved in to be huge successes, thanks to his creativity and wild sense of humor.
It's almost impossible to talk about the history of stand-up comedy in the United States without mentioning Eddy Murphy, because he has been and continues to be an icon in comedy, especially among the African-American community. Throughout his career, Murphy has won numerous awards and received even more award nominations, with some of the highest honors being his Oscar nomination for his performance in Dreamgirls and winning a Golden Globe Award for the same role.
Since he's such a huge celebrity, most people might think they know everything about him, while in reality there's so much even his fans might not know. Here's a list of 20 things many people probably don't know about Eddie Murphy.
20 He Was In The Foster Care System
57-year-old Eddie Murphy who was born in Brooklyn, New York is not only an actor but also a comedian, singer, and producer. His parents broke up when he was three years old. Eddie and his older brother Charlie Murphy had to live in foster care for approximately a year.
He revealed in an interview that his time in foster care was influential in developing his sense of humor. After his mother recovered, she married their stepfather Vernon Lynch and they moved to Roosevelt in New York.
19 He Knew What He Wanted To Be When He Grew Up
In his high school yearbook, Eddie wrote that he wanted to become a comedian. He quickly started pursuing his career by signing up as a comic in Long Island clubs.
He became so popular that in two years he was already a regular cast member on Saturday Night Live, a late-night live television show that shows comedy sketches which imitate contemporary culture and politics.
It was a pretty quick start for Eddie considering how he had had always had a difficult time catching up with school work. In the show, he impersonated the likes of Bill Cosby, Muhammad Ali, and Jerry Lewis.
18 He May Not Have Written Coming To America
John Landis directed Coming to America, a romantic comedy film back in 1988. Eddie received the credit for the storyline of the film, in addition to starring as the lead actor. It did so well and made a worldwide gross of $228 million.
After the film was a huge success, humorist Art Buchwald sued Paramount for $5 million because the movie was based on a screenplay he had sold to paramount in 1983. It turned out that Paramount had indeed worked on a similar story before terminating it in 1985 then later released a similar film three years later. Buchwald sued the studio and as a result, received the payment.
17 He Is All About Being Neat
As a child, his Stepfather Vernon often commented about how neat and clean Eddie was, he joked that Eddie needed to get a degree and a job so that other people could do his dirty work for him.
Being famous didn't change a thing for Eddie. In an interview, he said that he constantly washes his hands and takes several showers a day. He said that as much as he loves his fans, the process of meeting and shaking hands wasn't so hygienic. He can't imagine the thought of a fan digging into his or her nose and then coming to shake his hand.
16 His Singing Career Was Promising
Eddie Murphy is a jack-of-all-trades. In addition to acting, writing, and producing, he also sings. As a singer, Murphy started out providing background vocals to songs released by the group The Bus Boys. In the early 1980s, Eddie released his first hit single "Party All the Time."
The song was a great hit since it went all the way to the second spot on the Billboard for three weeks. He later featured the song in his debut album in 1985. He even provided vocal work on Saturday Night Live for cast mate Joe Piscopo’s comedy single. He has also performed several songs in the Shrek film franchise.
15 He Auditioned Six Times For Saturday Night Live
Before landing his first dream role on Saturday Night Live at NBC television, Eddie actually had to audition six times. He had that the show was looking for a black cast member and he jumped at the chance to audition. However, the role didn't come without hard work and perseverance and after six tries, he finally got it, though they started by hiring him as an extra.
Lucky for him, he left a good impression on the producers every time, and over time, they promoted him to a regular on the series. This role earned him national attention and was the beginning of his career, as we know it today.
14 He Has Nine Children
In 1993, Murphy married Nicole Mitchell at The Plaza Hotel in New York, but in 2006 the two parted ways. Together the couple has five children. He started dating Melanie Brown, one of the Spice Girls at the time, with whom they have a daughter. In 2008, Eddie married Tracey Edmonds in Bora Bora but the ceremony didn't bind them together legally, so they were to repeat their vows in America but parted ways before they could do so.
Eddie began dating Paige Butcher and four years later, they had a daughter. Along with two other children from previous girlfriends, Paulette McNeely and Tamara Hood, Eddie has nine children.
13 His Delirious Suit Was Part Of His Legacy
Delirious was a 1983 stand-up television special starring Eddie Murphy. It was Eddie’s first feature stand-up film. Most people remember the special for two things, its raunchy content and the form-fitting red leather suit that Murphy wore on stage. Fans always remember the suit and would constantly ask Eddie about it in interviews.
In 2007 when asked about it, Murphy revealed he once dared his friend Keenen Wayans to wear the suit out for the night and remain in character. Wayans took his friend up on the dare but the suit was too tight on him that it tore and stretched seriously.
12 He Was Considered For Many Of Iconic Film Roles
Like any other big star, Eddie was considered for many movie roles, which for some reason, he turned down. He considered some as dodged bullets while others felt like missed opportunities. Eddie was the original choice to play Winston in Ghostbusters but that never happened.
He was also considered for the Steve Martin role in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, the Morgan Freeman role in Driving Miss Daisy, the Chris Tucker role in Rush Hour, and the Bob Hoskins role in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? The latter of which he regrets turning down. In addition, he was even one of the actors considered to play Malcolm X.
11 His Films Gross Over $6.6 Billion Worldwide
Eddie is famous for being one of the best leading actors of his generation. He has taken lead roles in various films, which have grossed well over $6 billion worldwide. In 2015, his films made him the sixth highest paid actor in the United States.
The box office films that made the highest gross sales worldwide were Shrek and its two sequels. Shrek 1 made $448 million, Shrek 2 grossed $919.8 million, and its sequel, Shrek the Third made $799 million. Other films like Beverly Hills Cop made $316.4 million and Coming to America made $228 million. He appeared in a variety of roles, where some he played more than one role in the same film.
10 He Has Played Many Starring Roles In The Same Films
Being an actor is tough, so you can imagine how complicated it must be playing more than one roles in the same film is. Eddie Murphy co-starred beside himself in several films. In the film Norbit, Eddie played three roles; a loud-mouthed obese woman called Rasputia, a shy timid nerd called Norbit, and an aged Asian man called Mr. Wong.
The makeup used to transform him into the three roles made the movie receive an Academy Award for best makeup. In the 1996 Nutty Professor film, Eddie played all members of the Klump family. In Coming to America, he played four roles Prince Akeem, Clarence, Randy, and Saul. Other films where he played multiple roles include Bowfinger and Meet Dave.
9 He's A Charitable Celebrity
Hardly do the stars we love watching on the big screens make small money, since we know that each movie they're involved in makes them more money than what most of us will in a lifetime. Murphy has a reputation of donating money to a number of charities and causes.
He has also donated to the Screen Actors Guild's strike-relief fund, Nonviolent Social Change, the HollyRod Foundation, and the Martin Luther King Center. He also started a foundation called Yeah!, which supports a variety of causes including the homeless and scholarships for needy children. It is always nice seeing celebrities giving back.
8 He Wasn't Very Academic But He Made It
Back when he was in school, Eddie was one of those students who never seem to be so dedicated to their studies, although he found a great forum for his verbal agility in grade school. In high school, Eddie became an expert in trading insults with his classmates, and at the age of 15, he hosted a talent show at the Roosevelt Youth Center, which was successful. He also started working on his comedy routines after school.
This early success ignited his passion for showbiz but while he did all this, his schoolwork suffered so much that he had to repeat 10th grade. He managed to graduate a couple of months late by doubling up on classes and attending summer and night school.
7 He Is A Huge Star Trek Fan
Who would have thought that Eddie Murphy was a Star Trek fan? It turns out he is, and he was even considered for a role in the fourth film. Star Trek is a space opera science fiction television series. The fourth film was the hardest because it involved the characters going back in time to present-day Earth to save whales.
The directors had agreed on the direction the story would take but could never agree on whom to cast for the different roles in the film. One of the directors called Meerson complained that the same people were always being chosen for the roles and insisted that Murphy had a part in the original draft. Sadly, Murphy was never featured in the film.
6 TV Helped Nurture His Talent
Eddie has been known to tell hilarious jokes and make spot-on impressions or impersonations of famous figures like his brother Charlie Murphy, James Brown, and Bill Cosby. Eddie was able to develop this talent at an early age. He watched a lot of television and learned how to mimic the voices of popular cartoon characters like Bugs Bunny, Sylvester The Cat, and many other cartoon characters.
When he finally learned how to mimic a character, Eddie never talked in his normal voice. However, he had a preference of mimicking cartoon characters more than mimicking real-life people. This talent enabled him to take up voice acting. He’s been featured in several animated films like Shrek and its two sequels. In Shrek, he voices the Donkey.
5 He Used To Be Very Different From His Brother
When they were younger, Murphy and his big brother Charlie Murphy barely had anything in common. Eddie was into showbiz, acting, and comedy and he was always a good boy. On the other hand, his brother was the opposite and was into very questionable behavior. Furthermore, he even had a black belt in Karate.
Therefore, Murphy claimed to have gotten away with a lot at school because the other kids knew his brother and nobody wanted to cross paths with him. As an adolescent, Charlie spent some time behind bars and later got into acting and writing.
4 One Of His Wedding Ceremonies Was Very Interesting
When Murphy broke off things with Melanie Brown, one of the spice girls, he started dating Tracey Edmonds. On January 1, 2008, they decided to exchange marriage vows while on a trip to an island off Bora Bora.
The ceremony was held privately but was never legally binding because they were not on American soil. They had decided to make things official when they got back. After much consideration and discussion, they both decided to forego having a legal ceremony, as it was not necessary to define their relationship further. They called their Bora Bora wedding a symbolic union. However, they later broke up and Murphy started dating model Paige Butcher.
3 He Paid For Redd Foxx’s Service
John Elroy Sanford known by his stage name Redd Foxx was an American stand-up comedian and actor. He was one of the all-time comedy greats. Redd was one of Eddie's biggest comedic influences when he was starting his career.
When he heard Foxx’s career wasn't doing well, Murphy cast Foxx in a role in one of his movies Harlem Nights.
By the time Redd passed, he had lost most of his wealth owing to personal challenges. Fortunate for his family, Eddie decided to pay all his funeral expenses and held a memorial ceremony that a legend like him deserved.
2 He Wasn't Always The First Choice
Axel Foley the role of Eddie Murphy in the comedy film Beverly Hills Cop wasn't meant for him. The role was originally offered to Sylvester Stallone who turned it down after reading the script, which was a blessing in disguise for Eddie.
The film was about a Detroit cop, Alex Foley who after the loss of his friend travels to California to investigate and track down the people who he believes were operating an art dealership as a cover in Beverly Hills. This film won Eddie his first solo leading role and the film grossed over $230 million, making it the highest grossing film that year.
1 He Started Stand-Up Because Of Richard Pryor
Eddie started stand-up comedy at the age of 15 and wanted to be just like Richard Pryor who was a famous stand-up comedian, actor, and social critic. Eddie wanted to imitate his childhood hero, he used to act, walk, and even do everything like him.
In the 70s, Pryor joked in one of his shows about how the Oscars lacked African American representation. In the 80s, a controversy about this kicked off and Eddie appeared at the Oscars to criticize the lack of African American representation. When Eddie got his first role as director, he made sure to bring on Pryor as his co-star.