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In Memory of Charlie Murphy (1959 - 2017)

By Brian Richards | News Stories | April 12, 2017 |

By Brian Richards | News Stories | April 12, 2017 |

Charlie Murphy, actor and comedian best known for his appearances on Chappelle’s Show, his voice work on The Boondocks, and several films starring his younger brother Eddie, died earlier today at a hospital from leukemia. He was 57 years old.

For so many people, especially for fans of comedy, Charlie Murphy achieved both fame and name recognition in 2004 when he appeared on the second season of Chappelle’s Show as part of a recurring skit entitled Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories. In these skits (which themselves helped the show become must-watch television and inspired far too many people to wear out the line “I’m Rick James, bitch!” by doing things like running up on Dave Chappelle in public to yell it at him as if they were the first to ever repeat that joke in his presence), Charlie would tell stories about how, as part of Eddie’s entourage when he himself became famous in the early 1980s, he would cross paths with many other celebrities, including Rick James, who seemed to take a lot of pleasure in making Charlie Murphy’s life a living hell…

…and Prince, who had no problem embarrassing Charlie Murphy and his friends in a game of basketball without even taking off his high-heeled boots…

There are so many things to love, laugh at, and appreciate about Charlie Murphy’s appearances on Chappelle’s Show (“I didn’t have sex with Katie. Lysol had sex with Katie. I just filmed-ded it” from The Mad Real World: Hoboken, his complete and utter disdain for Calvin when he comes home from work at WacArnold’s, his role as Rodney “Quills” Dinkins from The World Series of Dice in which he robs everone whole demanding them to get ‘butt-ass naked’, and his role as Buck Nasty in The Playa Haters Ball as well as the left-on-the-cutting-room-floor skit The Time Haters) and yet there’s one moment of his that still makes me laugh especially hard whenever I think about it.

Towards the end of his True Hollywood Story about Prince, Charlie has finished explaining how he and his friends lost the basketball game to Prince and the Revolution. The interviewer then asks him what happened afterwards, to which Charlie explains how they all went inside and Prince just made them all pancakes.


The look on Charlie Murphy’s face when he’s telling that part of that story…


…it basically said: “Look…I was there and I lived it and even EYE can’t believe this shit that I’m telling you right now. But it’s all true.”

After Chappelle’s Show ended its run on Comedy Central, Charlie Murphy soon followed that up by providing the voice of Ed Wuncler III on The Boondocks (“I sent that bitch a text with a smiley face. Bitches love smiley faces.”), Jizzy B. in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, and for roles in the films Roll Bounce, Norbit, Night At The Museum, The Perfect Holiday, and television shows such as Hawaii Five-O, Are We There Yet, and Black Jesus. In 2010, he performed in a stand-up special entitled Charlie Murphy: I Will Not Apologize. Charlie Murphy’s final role will be on the STARZ drama Power, in its upcoming fourth season as a prison guard named Marshal Williams. According to cast and crew members, they were completely unaware of his diagnosis.

In 2014, Charlie Murphy lost his wife of twelve years, Tisha Taylor Murphy, to cervical cancer. They had two children together, and Charlie Murphy also had another child from a previous relationship.

May he rest in peace. And let us all be eternally grateful that Charlie Murphy made so many people laugh so damn much.

Brian Richards is a Staff Contributor. You can follow him on Twitter.