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Eddie Murphy - Biography

The American actor was born in 1961 in New York City and is best known for starring in Coming to America, Beverly Hills Cop, Dreamgirls, Mulan, and more

Eddie Murphy attends the Los Angeles Premiere of Netflix's "You People" at Regency Village Theatre on January 17, 2023 in Los Angeles, California
Ahad Sanwari
Ahad Sanwari - New York
Senior WriterNew York
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Eddie Murphy's Early Life

Edward Regan Murphy was born on April 3, 1961 in New York City to a telephone operator mother and transit police officer father, who was also an amateur actor and comedian. His parents split when he was three and his father was murdered when he was eight.

For a year, Murphy and his brother Charlie lived in the foster care system when their mother was ill, which influenced Murphy's comedy in his later years. They eventually returned home and were raised by his mother and stepfather. He first started performing at local events in 1976, secretly skipping school, but was forced into summer school once his mother discovered his deceit.

Eddie Murphy's Career and Rise to Fame

His big break came in 1980, when he became part of the cast of Saturday Night Live, remaining till 1984 and being credited for helping revitalize the sketch comedy show. He made his movie debut in 1982 with 48 Hrs and became a superstar of the 1980s with roles in Trading Places (1983), the Beverly Hills Cop franchise (first beginning in 1984), and Coming to America (1988), attracting box office success and critical acclaim.

He made his directorial debut with the 1989 film Harlem Nights, which was panned then but now considered a cult classic, and his biggest successes of the '90s were 1996's The Nutty Professor, for originating the role of Mushu in Disney's animated Mulan (1998), and Dr. Dolittle the same year. In the '00s, he pivoted to family-friendly fare, with his biggest commercial blockbusters coming through the Shrek franchise (starting in 2001) and The Haunted Mansion (2003).

He received significant attention for his dramatic turn in 2006's theatrical adaptation of Dreamgirls and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. While the rest of the 2000s-2010s remained slow, he achieved a career resurgence thanks to 2019's Dolemite Is My Name, garnering him more critical acclaim and a Golden Globe nod, and the sequel to Coming to America, Coming 2 America, in 2021. He followed that up with a return to SNL in December 2019, his first time hosting since 1984, which was met with rave reviews.

As a singer, Murphy released three albums: How Could It Be (1985), So Happy (1989), and Love's Alright (1993), achieving a smash hit with the single 'Party All the Time' from his debut record. He also covered several hits as his character Donkey for the Shrek franchise.

Eddie Murphy's Personal Life

Murphy's private life has been the subject of much tabloid fodder due to his relationships and family. He welcomed his first child in 1989 with girlfriend Paulette McNeely and another in 1990 with then-girlfriend Tamara Hood. In 1993, he tied the knot with Nicole Mitchell, with whom he had five more children. In 2005, they announced their separation, and they were divorced the following year.

He had a short-lived relationship with Spice Girl Melanie Brown aka Mel B, during which she became pregnant. He asserted the child was not his, but later paternity tests proved her newborn daughter was, indeed, his own. While he almost tied the knot with film producer Tracey Edmonds in 2008, they broke up soon after. Since 2012, he has been in a relationship with Australian model Paige Butcher, with whom he has two more children, and they announced their engagement in 2018.

To learn more about Eddie Murphy, click here

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