Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Celebrity Review: Eddie Murphy

Born: 3 April 1961 (Age: 51)
Where: New York, New York, USA
Height: 5' 10"
Awards: 1 Oscar, 1 BAFTA, 5 Golden Globe nominations

Edward Regan Murphy was born in the Bushwick projects of Brooklyn, New York, on the 3rd of April, 1961. His father was a policeman. His mother, Lillian, was a telephone operator. Sadly, they divorced when Eddie was 3 and, even more sadly, his father was killed by a new girlfriend when the boy was just 8.
Living with Lillian and his brother Charles Q Murphy (now an actor and screenwriter), Eddie stayed in Brooklyn till he was ten. Then Lillian, along with her new husband Vernon Lynch (a former boxer then employed as a foreman at Breyers Ice Cream plant)) took the boys, plus Lynch's son (also named Vernon), to Roosevelt, Long Island. This was a predominantly white, middle-class area thats black population increased sharply throughout the Sixties and Seventies. It also spawned Howard Stern, Julius Erving and Public Enemy rapper Chuck D.

So Eddie, a natural mimic schooled in the streets and now the suburbs, expanded his repertoire of characters. Starting with Bullwinkle and Sylvester The Cat, he began to impersonate the stars of the day, as well as invent new characters of his own. At Roosevelt High School he'd carry a briefcase full of joke-books with him, and was often voted Most Popular Student, even winning over the teachers, who'd laugh as they sent him to the Principal's office for his hilarious insubordination.

As well as singing in a local R&B band (they'd steal supermarket trollies to transport their equipment), Eddie was damn funny, and he knew it. Heavily influenced by his hero, Richard Pryor, he worked on his monologues and impersonations - quickly mastering Lionel Richie, Bill Cosby, Al Green and Elvis Presley - and made his stage debut at the Roosevelt Youth Centre on the 9th of July, 1976.

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