Charlie Quinton Murphy was an American actor, comedian, and writer, who is best remembered for his work in the comedy TV series ‘Chappelle’s Show’ which aired on Comedy Central. The show had earned huge popularity across America and was listed by TV Guide on their list of ‘TV’s Top 100 Shows’. Born in Brooklyn, New York City, Murphy began his film career with a minor role in the film ‘Harlem Nights’. The film, which was directed by his brother Eddie Murphy, was nominated for an Oscar. It was also a commercial success. Murphy played minor roles in several films during the 1990s, such as ‘The Player’s Club’ and ‘Unconditional Love’. Over the next few years, he also appeared in movies like ‘Paper Soldiers’, ‘Night at the Museum,’ and ‘Our Family Wedding’. His last work was in the horror comedy film ‘Meet the Blacks’, which was directed by Deon Taylor. He passed away of leukemia at the age of fifty-seven in 2017.
Childhood & Early Life
Charles Quinton Murphy was born on 12th July 1959 in Brooklyn, New York City. His mother Lillian worked as a telephone operator. His father Charles Edward Murphy was a transit police officer and also an amateur actor and comedian. He had a brother, Eddie Murphy, and a half-brother, Vernon Lynch.
As a teenager, Murphy spent ten months in jail. After his release, he enlisted in the US Navy. He served there as a Boiler Technician for six years.
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Before he started his career in films, Charlie Murphy worked for the hip-hop band ‘K-9 Posse’. He was the executive producer of the band’s debut self-titled album. He also wrote two of the songs.
He made his film debut in the 1989 comedy crime film ‘Harlem Nights’. The film was directed by his brother Eddie Murphy, and revolved around a team that ran a nightclub. It explored how they dealt with gangsters and corrupt policemen.
The following year, he played a supporting role in the musical drama film ‘Mo’ Better Blues’. Directed by Spike Lee, it followed the life of a musician who messes up his life by taking several wrong decisions.
He appeared in the 1993 comedy movie ‘CB4’ which was directed by Tamra Davis. The story revolved around a fictional rap group which was formed in a prison cell. Two years later, he worked in the comedy horror movie ‘Vampire in Brooklyn’ as a writer. The movie was co-produced by his brother Eddie Murphy, who also played a main role.
Some of the other films he appeared in over the years were ‘The Players Club’ (1998), ‘Paper Soldiers’ (2002), ‘Death of a Dynasty’ (2003) and ‘Roll Bounce’. (2005).
In 2003, he gained fame for his appearance in the American comedy TV series ‘Chappelle’s Show’, in which he was also a writer. The show ran on the Comedy Central network till 2006.
In 2005, Charlie Murphy played a supporting role in the film ‘King’s Ransom’. Directed by Jeffrey W. Byrd, the film was about a selfish businessman whose wife plans to ruin him financially as he plans to divorce her. Therefore, he plans a mock kidnapping to keep his money safe. The film was a commercial failure.
The same year, he worked in the animated TV series ‘The Boondocks’. The show aired for four seasons on Adult Swim. The show received critical acclaim. However, it also gained controversy due to several reasons.
In 2006, he played a cameo role in the hit fantasy-comedy film ‘Night at the Museum’. The film revolved around the story of a night-watchman working at a museum who discovers that the exhibits come to life at night.
He appeared in several films over the ensuing years, such as ‘Three Days to Vegas’ (2007), ‘The Perfect Holiday’ (2007), ‘Frankenhood’ (2009), ‘Lottery Ticket’ (2010) and ‘Moving Today’ (2012). His last role before his untimely death was in the 2016 comedy horror film ‘Meet the Blacks’.
In addition to ‘Chappelle's Show,’ Charlie Murphy had also worked in several other TV shows. Some of them were ‘One on One’, ‘Nite Tales: The Series’, ‘Are We There Yet’, ‘The Cookout 2’, ‘Black Dynamite’, ‘Black Jesus’, and ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’.
Charlie Murphy worked as a writer for the 1995 comedy horror film ‘Vampire in Brooklyn’. The film was directed by Wes Craven and starred Eddie Murphy, Angela Bassett, Allen Payne, Kadeem Hardison and John Witherspoon. Despite receiving negative reviews at the time of its release, the film became a cult film among fans.
The American sketch comedy TV series ‘Chappelle’s Show’ was undoubtedly the most significant work in Charlie Murphy’s entire career. The show ran on the Comedy Central Network from 2003 to 2006, covering three seasons. The show did quite well and was listed in TV Guide’s list of ‘TV’s Top 100 shows’.
Murphy played a cameo role in the 2006 hit film ‘Night at the Museum’. Directed by Shawn Levy, the movie was based on a 1993 children’s book of the same name, written by Milan Trenc. The film starred popular actors such as Ben Stiller, Dick Van Dyke, Robin Williams, Carla Gugino and Mickey Rooney. The film was a huge commercial success, and was also nominated for nine awards, out of which it won two. It was met with mixed reviews from critics.
‘Meet the Blacks,’ a 2016 horror comedy movie was also the last work of Charlie Murphy. Directed by Deon Taylor, the movie was about the misadventures of a man named Carl Black. Starring actors such as Mike Epps and Gary Owen in addition to Murphy, the film was a commercial success, grossing more than $9 million on a budget of $900,000.
Personal Life & Legacy
Charlie Murphy married Tisha Taylor in 1997. She passed away in December 2009 due to cancer. They had two children. Murphy also had another child from a previous relationship.
Charlie Murphy suffered from leukemia and passed away from the disease on 12 April 2017. He was 57 at the time of his death.