Born on April 3, 1961 in Brooklyn, New York, Eddie Murphy is a hugely popular comedian known for his high-grossing movies. He supposedly ranks as the highest grossing film star in history, having a total of 33 films to date and grossing over $3.4 billion in the U.S. alone, bringing up his per film average to $104 million. Starting off as a Saturday Night Live regular from 1980 to 1984, he worked his way into become one of the most recognized and bankable comedic actors in Hollywood today.
The son of a telephone operator and an amateur comedian, Eddie Murphy’s father left them when he was 3. His father was stabbed to death when Eddie Murphy was 8. Raised in Roosevelt, New York by his mother and stepfather, he began writing and performing his own routines around the age of 19, heavily influenced by Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor.
Murphy’s stand-up career began in the same place that birthed the likes of Robin Williams and Whoopi Goldberg. His brand of comedy was seen as excessively insensitive, targeting homosexuality and the AIDS phenomenon. His acts were so harsh that he was forced to apologize for them some years later. In 1980, he continuously prodded SNL’s talent coordinator to give him a shot on the show. Despite repeated rejections, he was able to win an audition and eventually won over the hearts of not only him, but the show’s executive producer and the network's big bosses themselves. After a few sporadic roles, he was soon raised to the status of full cast member.
Murphy made his film debut in the 1982 movie 48 Hrs, which went on to be a box office hit during the Christmas season of 1982. His other screen credits include Trading Places, Beverly Hills Cop, and the box office hit The Golden Child. His first directorial job with Harlem Nights was seen as a vanity project and paved the way for a career slum from 1989 until the mid-1990s. His career began to recover, however, with The Nutty Professor in 1996, plus a series of family-friendly movies such as Mulan, Dr. Dolittle, Shrek, Daddy Day Care, and The Haunted Mansion. More recently, he starred in Dreamgirls, where he won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor and an Oscar nomination for the same category.