Real name: Edward Regan Murphy
Birthdate: April 3, 1961
Partner: Nicole Mitchell
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Edward "Eddie" Regan Murphy (born April 3, 1961) is an Academy Award nominated, Golden Globe Award-winning American actor and comedian. He was a regular cast member on Saturday Night Live from 1980 to 1984, and has worked as a stand-up comedian. He has also enjoyed a minor singing career.
In Autumn 1980, the then unknown Murphy badgered talent coordinator Neil Levy to give him a shot on Saturday Night Live. Levy repeatedly rejected him, saying that the show already had a full cast. But Murphy continued pleading with Levy, saying that he had several siblings banking on him getting a spot on the show. Levy finally conceded and allowed him an audition. On the basis of the audition performance, Levy then began advocating to new executive producer Jean Doumanian to let Murphy on the show. After seeing Murphy's audition for herself, she too began pleading with the network to allow Murphy on the show. NBC only agreed after it was determined that Townsend had not yet signed a contract, at which point Murphy was cast as a featured player.
Despite Murphy's participation, the 1980-1981 season was considered such a disaster that NBC fired Jean Doumanian and everybody in the cast, with the exception of Murphy and Joe Piscopo. Whereas Murphy had rarely been featured during Doumanian's tenure, he became a break-out star under Doumanian's replacement, Dick Ebersol. His well-known character creations include the former child movie star Buckwheat, a life-size version of the Gumby toy character and an inner-city black version of Fred Rogers known as "Mr. Robinson". Murphy also performed celebrity impressions, such as Stevie Wonder. Murphy left the show midway through the 1983–1984 season, appearing in filmed sketches for the remainder of that season.
In 1982, Murphy made his big screen debut in the buddy-buddy thriller 48 Hrs. alongside Nick Nolte. The movie was perhaps most notable for two scenes: 1) a scene involving Murphy (on a bet with Nolte) terrorizing a redneck bar, and 2) a scene in which Murphy, in a jail cell, sings "Roxanne" by The Police loudly and out of key while listening to the song on headphones. 48 Hrs. proved to be a smash hit when it was released in the Christmas season of 1982. It is to be the originator of the mismatched, police, action-adventure formula, which was followed by Lethal Weapon, Bad Boys, Rush Hour, and others. Nolte was scheduled to host the December 11, 1982 Christmas episode of Saturday Night Live, but became too ill to host, so Murphy took over as host. He became the only cast member to host while still a regular. Murphy opened the show with the phrase, "Live from New York, It's the Eddie Murphy Show!"
Murphy was one of the last movie actors to sign an exclusive contract with a studio. In this case, it was Paramount Pictures, which released all of his early films.
In Coming to America, Murphy imitated Jackie Wilson when he sang "To Be Loved," but because the character he was playing had a thick accent, he had to sing it in character. In later years, Murphy performed several songs in the Shrek film franchise. In the first film, he performed a version of "I'm a Believer" in the film's final scene; in Shrek 2 he performed Ricky Martin's hit "Livin' La Vida Loca" along with co-star Antonio Banderas.