From movies like: The Nutty Professor, Boomerang, and more..........
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The son of Brooklyn policeman who died when he was eight, comedy superstar Eddie Murphy was raised in the comfortable middle-class community of Hempstead by his mother and stepfather. A natural-born class clown, he was voted the most popular student at Roosevelt Jr-Sr High. By the age of 15, he was doing standup gigs at 25 dollars to 50 dollars a pop, and within a few years he was headlining on the comedy-club circuit.
Murphy was 19 when he was hired as one of the backup performers on the NBC comedy weekly Saturday Night Live. His unique blend of youthful arrogance, sharkish good cheer, underlying rage, and street-smart versatility transformed the comedian into SNL's prime attraction, and soon the country was reverberating with imitations of such choice Murphy characterizations as sourball celebrity Gumby, inner-city kiddie host Mr. Robinson, prison poet Tyrone Green, and The Little Rascals' Buckwheat. Just when it seemed that he couldn't get any more popular, Murphy was hastily added to the cast of the 1982 comedy/melodrama feature film 48 Hours, and voila, an eight-million-per-picture movie star was born.
The actor followed this cinematic triumph with Trading Places, released in 1983, the same year that his comedy album Eddie Murphy, Comedian won a Grammy. In 1984, he was finally allowed to carry a picture himself: Beverly Hills Cop, one of the most successful pictures of the decade. Proving that at this juncture Murphy could do no wrong, his next starring vehicle, The Golden Child (1986), made a fortune at the box office, despite the fact that the picture itself was less than perfect. After Beverly Hills Cop 2 and his live standup video Eddie Murphy Raw (both 1987), Murphy's popularity and career seemed to be in decline, though his staunchest fans refused to desert him. His esteem rose in the eyes of many with his next project, Coming to America (1987), a PG-rated outing that allowed him to play an abundance of characters -- some of which he essayed so well that he was utterly unrecognizable. His first directorial effort was Harlem Nights (1989), which was followed by the 1992 political satire The Distinguished Gentleman. After a few critical and commercial flops, Murphy rebounded with a 1996 remake of Jerry Lewis' The Nutty Professor. The film proved to be an unqualified success, pointing the actor in a more family friendly direction. His next couple of features, Dr. Dolittle and the animated Mulan (both 1998), were children-oriented affairs, although in 1999 he returned to more mature material with two comedies, Life (which he also produced) and Bowfinger, and The PJs, a fairly bawdy claymation sitcom about life in South Central L.A.
Moving into the new millennium, Murphy kept the bawdy moving with the sequel Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (2000) before moving on to yet another sequel in 2001, the decidedly more family friendly Dr. Dolittle 2. That same year, sharp-eared audiences were served up abundant laughs by Murphy's turn as a donkey in the animated fairy-tale spoof Shrek. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide
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