Eddie Murphy is slated to be inducted into the NAACP Hall of Fame at the 52nd NAACP Image Awards airing LIVE on BET and simulcast across ViacomCBS Networks on March 27. The actor-comedian’s longtime friend and collaborator, Arsenio Hall, will present him with the award, which is usually given to a pioneering individual who has helped to shape the future of his or her profession “for generations to come.”
“To this day, Eddie Murphy’s work continues to bring joy and laughter to individuals around the world,” Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP, said in a written statement. “And he is an amazing example of Black excellence, creativity and artistry.”
Murphy, 59, the father of 10 who lives in Beverly Hills, began his career as a teenager as a stand-up comedian before joining the cast of Saturday Night Live in November 1980. At age 21, he parlayed his successful run on SNL to a career in Hollywood, starring in 48 Hours, and went on to star in more than 70 films, including Trading Places, Beverly Hills Cop, Coming to America, Harlem Nights, The Nutty Professor, Dr. Dolittle, Shrek, Dreamgirls, Dolemite Is My Name, and Coming 2 America.
He joins a long list of entertainers who have been inducted into the NAACP Hall of Fame, including Sidney Poitier, Aretha Franklin, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, Stevie Wonder, Oprah Winfrey and Spike Lee.
Earlier this year (2021), Murphy won his first Primetime Emmy award in the Guest Actor Comedy Series category for his successful return to Saturday Night Live in 2019 when he hosted the show’s Christmas episode.
“Thank you to everybody at the Emmys,” he said in a Twitter video accepting the award. “Thank you so much for giving me an Emmy. I don’t have an Emmy. This is 40 years since I started Saturday Night Live; this is my first Emmy. So, thank you so much.”
Here are 10 times Murphy proved he is the king of comedy:
In 1983, Murphy starred in one of his funniest roles as Billy Ray Valentine, a down on his luck street hustler who gets caught up in a bet between two rich old billionaire brothers (Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy). They want to see if Valentine can succeed as a respectable financial genius like the white, preppy (Dan Aykroyd), whose life is upended as a result of the wager and Valentine's rise to the top. Saturday Night Live stars, Murphy and Aykroyd, are hilarious in this classic film. Check out a video clip of the official trailer below:
In this 1992 hit, Murphy was hysterical in his role as an accomplished, womanizing advertising executive who gets knocked down when karma turns the tables on him when his new boss (Robin Givens) arrives on the scene. She shows him what it's like to be treated as a sex object, destroying his personal and professional worlds. Directed by up-and-comer Reginald Hudlin, the film also featured a young Halle Berry in her breakthrough Hollywood role. Not only that, Boomerang was also the only top 20 movie in 1992 with a predominantly Black cast; and the triple-platinum soundtrack helped launch the career of then-unknown singer Toni Braxton, according to Entertainment Weekly. It also spawned a sequel series on BET in 2019. Check out the video trailer below:
Murphy won rave reviews in 1982 when he starred as Reggie Hammand, an ex-con who is released to help hard-edged cop Jack Cates (Nick Nolte) catch a pair of vicious cop killers in just 48 hours. The mix-matched duo keeps the audience laughing as they embark on the dangerous mission in this action classic. And who could forget Murphy’s funny rendition of the Police’s hit single, “Roxanne” as he sits in his cell? "Roxaaaaanne!" Watch the trailer below:
This 1989 American crime comedy-drama film is important because it was the first that was written, produced, directed by and starred Murphy himself, a time when most Blacks were still struggling to make their way in front of the camera in Hollywood, let alone as director. The film is a cult classic among Black audiences for its humor and sheer star power, which includes Richard Pryor, Della Reese, Redd Foxx, and Michael Lerner. In a plot that revolves around the Mafia, sexy women and crooked cops, Pryor stars as Sugar Ray, owner of the Club Sugar Ray, a Harlem speakeasy, while Murphy stars as his adopted son, Quick. The film, which remains Murphy’s only directorial effort, highlights his comedic and acting skills. Check out a video clip of the official trailer below:
‘THE NUTTY PROFESSOR’
Murphy was a straight up fool in this 1989 remake of Jerry Lewis’ tale about a nerdy scientist who drinks a potion that changes him into a Casanova named Buddy Love. The slapstick comedy highlights Murphy’s versatility, including his trademark skill of playing multiple roles, including every member of the crazy Klump family, whose dinner table antics represent some of Murphy's funniest onscreen moments. Check out a video clip of the official trailer below:
‘BEVERLY HILLS COP’
He scored major points on the board for his humor in the role of Axel Foley, a blue-collar Detroit police detective who goes to Los Angeles to track the killer of his childhood friend in this 1984 action thriller with its iconic theme song, “Axel F.” “He checks in with old friend Jenny Summers (Lisa Eilbacher) and starts to believe her boss, art dealer Victor Maitland (Steven Berkoff), might somehow be involved in the murder,” according to a review on Rotten Tomatoes. “However, Lt. Bogomil (Ronny Cox) of the Beverly Hills Police Department does not trust Foley, and hinders his search for evidence.” Check out the trailer below:
‘COMING TO AMERICA’
Murphy teamed up again with John Landis, who directed Trading Places, in this classic comedy that sealed his fate as a great comedy-actor in 1988. He plays a rich African prince, Akeem, who travels to America to find a bride in Queens, N.Y. Arsenio Hall plays his manservant in this comedic tour-de-force performance. The duo sport a variety of makeup disguises, which is a major part of Murphy’s acting repertoire, as the regulars at a local barbershop. Check out a video clip of the official trailer below:
In 2006, Murphy used the adaptation of the hit Broadway musical as a comeback role, following a break from the big screen. Although the backup singers, the Dreamettes-- Beyoncé, Jennifer Hudson and Anika Noni Rose--were the big draw, Murphy won rave reviews for his performance as the raunchy R&B singer Jimmy Early, which earned him the first — and so far his only — Oscar nomination in his career. Check out a video clip of the official trailer below:
DOLEMITE IS MY NAME’
Murphy shined in this 2019 remake of Rudy Ray Moore's 1975 Blaxploitation shoestring budget film, Dolemite. In his tribute to the late actor-director, Murphy perfectly captures Moore’s big and outrageous character as a dreamer as Murphy himself fulfills his own dream of making the film. Indeed, Dolemite Is My Name is full of laughs, but Murphy dives beneath the surface to bring to light Moores’ struggles as a frustrated artist in this hilarious film of art imitating life, which also reveals Murphy’s diversity of acting talents. Check out a video clip of the official trailer below:
‘COMING 2 AMERICA’
In the sequel to the 1988 classic, Murphy is hilarious in his reprisal of Akeem, who must locate his long-lost son in Queens so that he can honor his father — James Earl Jones’ — dying wish to crown the youth as prince. The film also stars Jermaine Fowler, Leslie Jones, Tracy Morgan, KiKi Layne, Shari Headley, Wesley Snipes, Teyana Taylor, and Murphy’s daughter Bella, 19, plays Princess Omma Joffer in the film. "Me and my dad do lots of acting scenes together, just for fun," Bella, tells Yahoo Entertainment. "He's a great teacher and it's just something we enjoy doing. We also watch a bunch of movies, and I was going to acting classes.” In its March 5th (2021) debut on Amazon Prime, the film had the #1 opening weekend for any streaming movie in the past year, according to Screen Engine/ASI. Check out the trailer below:
Watch the 52nd Annual NAACP awards on BET on Saturday, March 27, 2021 at 8/7C