Those who grew up in the 80’s will surely remember the comedic talent of Eddie Murphy and the beloved characters he portrayed both on TV as a cast member of Saturday Night Live as well as those in his numerous box office blockbuster films such as “Beverly Hills Cop”, “Coming To America”, and more recently “Shrek.” For some of the more die-hard fans, his standup routines still linger in our mental memorabilia. Some of the most famous bits are those in which he talks about his parents, Lillian and Vernon. One would never imagine that in the hilarious and irreverent tales of his childhood memories, there is a deeper story of brokenness and despair that would surprisingly become the foundation for the creativity and success of this comedic powerhouse.
Edward Regan Murphy was born in the Bushwick projects of Brooklyn, New York City. His mother, Lillian, was a telephone operator, and his father, Charles Edward Murphy, was a transit police officer and an amateur actor and comedian. At the age of three, Eddie’s parents divorced and five years later, Eddie learned that his father had been killed by a jealous lover in a crime of passion. After that, Eddie, his mother, and his older brother Charlie faced many struggles including the profound illness of their mother who needed to be hospitalized for a long period of time. Eddie and Charlie were sent to live in a foster home and remained there for a year. It was in this home that Eddie learned to develop his sense of humor, perhaps as a coping mechanism to get through their difficulties. He credits that time with making him realize how important it is to find something to laugh about in every situation.
When Eddie was nine, his mother married Vernon Lynch, a foreman at an ice cream plant, and the family was reunited and moved to Long Island, New York. As an adult, Eddie worked the Manhattan comedy circuit where he learned that NBC-TV’s Saturday Night Live was looking for a black cast member. After six tries, he earned a spot as an “extra” and went on to a regular position. He emerged as one of the most popular members of the SNL cast ever thanks to his impersonations of boxer Muhammad Ali, actor and comedian Bill Cosby, musician Stevie Wonder, Jerry Lewis and more and unlike other entertainers of that period, Eddie has always believed in clean living. He avoids alcohol, tobacco, and drugs. As a Golden Globe recipient and the 4th highest grossing actor in the US, Murphy has shown that he knows how to be successful in the entertainment industry.
There are nearly 3,000 children in foster care in Miami-Dade County. Perhaps there is a Eddie Murphy among them. Help us bring out the full potential in every foster child. Be A Voice by donating to their dreams!