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Actor and comedian Eddie Murphy began doing stand-up as a teenager. He became a popular Saturday Night Live cast member and starred in several box-office hits.
Eddie Murphy - Child Comic (1:02)
Eddie Murphy describes his admiration for Bruce Lee's ability to reach an audience.
Eddie Murphy describes sneaking out of the house to head to comedy clubs in hopes of getting a spot.
Chris Rock talks about being encouraged and helped by Eddie Murphy.
Actress-Director Rain Pryor talks about how her father Richard Pryor was a comedy pioneer with his raw stand-up performances and honest critiques of race.
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The second film did not perform to the same standards as the first, and Murphy decided to take a break from the Hollywood scene.
He returned in 1992 as a smooth, impeccably dressed bachelor in the film Boomerang, co-starring Halle Berry. The film met mixed reviews,
but many critics found Murphy's performance as a romantic lead a step in the right direction. He followed the success of the film with Beverly Hills Cop III (1994) and Vampire in Brooklyn (1995), both low performers at the box office.
In 1996, Murphy rediscovered his love for over-the-top comedic invention in a hit remake of the Jerry Lewis film The Nutty Professor. Murphy earned a Golden Globe nomination and an Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Award for his role in the film.
In May of 1997, Murphy earned some unfortunate publicity when he was discovered by L.A. police with a transsexual prostitute. He claimed he was merely trying to give the prostitute a ride. The incident made him the target of jokes nonetheless.
Despite the scandal in his personal life, Murphy went on to feature in a variety of family films. He played the voice of Mushu the Lizard in Disney's animated picture Mulan (1998) to enormous critical praise, and starred in the family film, Doctor Doolittle (1998).
In 1999, Murphy starred in the comedy Bowfinger, costarring Steve Martin, who also wrote the screenplay. Nutty Professor II: The Klumps was released in the summer of 2000, with Murphy featured as all six lead characters. He also voiced the lead character, superintendent Thurgood Stubbs, on The PJs, an animated TV show for which he also serves as executive producer. In the summer of 2001, Murphy had two more big box-office successes, starring in Dr. Doolittle 2 and lending his voice to the character of Donkey in the animated feature Shrek, also featuring the voices of Mike Myers and Cameron Diaz.
In 2003, Murphy starred in yet another family comedy, this time as an overwhelmed babysitter in Daddy Day Care. The following year, he revived Donkey for the hit sequel Shrek 2. In 2006, Murphy signed on for what was arguably his most demanding film to date, a screen adaptation of the Broadway musical Dreamgirls, featuring Jennifer Hudson. His performance as soul singer James "Thunder" Early earned him a Golden Globe award and an Academy Award nomination. In 2007, Murphy appeared in Norbit and Shrek the Third.
In January of 2008, Murphy announced his split with film producer Tracey Edmonds. The couple married in French Polynesia on New Year's Day of that year in front of 25 family members and friends. When it turned out that the celebration was not legally binding, Murphy and his new wife planned to renew their vows on American soil. The second ceremony never took place, however, and the couple officially separated.
Murphy continues to work as an actor and comedian. His film Tower Heist is slated to be released later this year.
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