Born in Brooklyn, New York, Charlie Murphy’s two decade career has earned him a spot amongst the world’s long list of pioneering comedic greats. On April 12, 2017, Murphy departed this life from complications from leukemia. He was 57.
After leaving the United States Navy in 1978, the actor, writer and producer earned minor roles in several films in the late 1980s and early 1990s. His first major role in a motion picture was in the 1993 film CB4, where he portrayed the antagonist, Gusto, alongside fellow comedian Chris Rock. In 2005, he continued his streak appearing in King Ransom alongside Anthony Anderson.
It was not until Murphy earned a recurring role on Dave Chappelle’s Chappelle’s Show, that he received international acclaim. His Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories sketches, became a popular staple of the show. In these sketches, Murphy recounted his misadventures as part of his brother Eddie’s entourage, including encounters with a plethora of high profile and iconic celebrities such as Rick James and Prince.
After Dave Chappelle left the show, Murphy, along with comedian Donnell Rawlings hosted the “lost episodes” compiled from sketches produced before Chappelle’s departure. Murphy has also done voiceovers for Budweiser radio commercials, provided the voice for Iraq War veteran Ed Wuncler III on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim series The Boondocks, and the voice for a pimp named Jizzy-B in Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas video game. Murphy provided the voice for Spock on the G4TV’s Star Trek 2.0 shorts, and the dog in his younger brother Eddie’s 2007 film Norbit, which he also co-wrote.
Murphy has also done many national comedy tours including the “I’m Rich B***h” comedy tour, featuring fellow “Chappelle’s Show” cast members Bill Burr and Donnell Rawlings, and the “Charlie Murphy and Friends”co-headlining tour with fellow actor and comedian Mike Epps. Next, Murphy co-headlined the 20-city “Maxim/Bud Light Real Men of Comedy Tour” with Joe Rogan and John Heffron.
On March 20, 2009, Murphy began starring in his own sketch comedy series Charlie Murphy’s Crash Comedy on Crackle. A stand-up special, Charlie Murphy: I Will Not Apologize premiered on Comedy Central in late February 2010. Murphy also made special appearances in 1000 Ways to Die and the TBS sitcom Are We There Yet? as Frank Kingston. In 2014–15, Murphy played Vic on the Adult Swim live action show Black Jesus.
With his extensive catalog, Charlie Murphy’s natural wit and expansive talents will be greatly missed.