Who was Charlie Murphy?

The late American actor, comedian and screenwriter Charles Quinton ‘Charlie’ Murphy, was born in New York City, USA, on 12 July 1959, meaning that Cancer was his zodiac sign. He had roles in 55 TV series and movies, and is perhaps remembered best for voicing Floyd the Dog in the 2007 romantic comedy movie “Norbit”, which starred Eddie Murphy and Thandiwe Newton, and was directed by Brian Robbins. It follows a man who’s married to a ‘monstrous woman’, and has fallen in love with another woman; the film won eight of its 17 award nominations, including an Oscar nomination for Best Achievement in Makeup.

Charlie was 57 when he died from leukemia on 12 April 2017.

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Education and early life

Charlie was raised in Tewksbury Township, New Jersey, alongside his brother Eddie Murphy, by their father Charles Edward Murphy who was a police officer, comedian and actor, and mother Lillian Murphy who was a telephone operator. Eddie’s today a famous American actor and comedian, and has won 44 of his 146 award nominations, including a 2007 Oscar nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, for “Dreamgirls”.

Charlie’s parents split when he was three, and he was nine when Charles was murdered; Lillian became ill not long after that, and Charlie and Eddie then spent a year living in foster care. Lillian eventually married her second husband Vernon Lynch, and her sons then lived with them in Roosevelt, New York State.

Charlie studied at a local high school and was a rather problematic teenager, spending 10 months in jail before he turned 18, but it remains unknown what his charges were. Charlie matriculated in 1978, and then enlisted in the US Navy rather than pursue a college degree; he served as a boiler technician for six years prior to leaving the Navy.

He then began practicing acting, and worked various jobs in the meantime to financially support himself.

Roles in TV series

Charlie’s debut TV series role was playing Ratman in the 1988 episode “Ratman Can” of the crime mystery comedy “Sonny Spoon”, and his following role came in 1995, when cast to play Bro Fo’ Real in the episode “Xpress Yourself” of the romantic comedy “Martin”.

In 2003 and 2004, he portrayed various characters in eight episodes of the musical comedy “Chappelle’s Show”, which starred Dave Chappelle who also created it; it follows a group of comedians parodying pop culture, the show aired from 2003 through 2006, and won seven of its 23 award nominations. In 2004, Charlie appeared in the episode “Rock the Vote” of the comedy “One on One”, and from 2005 through 2010, he voiced Ed Wuncler III in the hit animated action comedy “The Boondocks”, which starred John Witherspoon and Regina King, and was created by Aaron McGruder. It follows brothers Huey and Riley Freeman who’ve moved in with their grandfather – the series won five of its 10 award nominations.

Some of Charlie’s following roles were in an episode or two of the comedy “Are We There Yet?”, the crime action “Hawaii Five-0”, and the comedy “The Rickey Smiley Show”. In 2014 and 2015, he played Vic in 21 episodes of the comedy “Black Jesus”, which starred John Witherspoon and Gerald ‘Slink’ Johnson, and was created by Mike Clattenburg. It follows the life of a street-smart savior from Compton.

Charlie’s final two TV series roles were in five episodes of both the crime drama “Power” and the “The Comedy Get Down” in 2017.

Roles in movies

Charlie’s debut film role was playing Jimmy in the 1989 crime comedy “Harlem Nights”, which starred Eddie Murphy, who also wrote and directed it. Set in the 1930s, the movie follows the owner of an illegal gambling house in New York City, and won two of its four award nominations, including an Oscar nomination for Best Costume Design.

Some of Charlie’s following roles were in the 1990 romantic musical “Mo’ Better Blues”, the 1990 drama “The Kid Who Loved Christmas” and the 1991 romantic drama “Jungle Fever”. In 1998, he portrayed Brooklyn in the comedy “The Players Club”, which starred LisaRaye McCoy and Dick Anthony Williams, and was written and directed by Ice Cube. It follows the life of a stripper, and the film won an Acapulco Black Film Festival Award for Best Soundtrack.

Charlie appeared in a couple of movies in the first half of the 2000s, including the 2003 musical comedy “Death of a Dynasty”, the crime comedy “King’s Ransom” and the musical comedy “Roll Bounce” both in 2005. In 2010, he voiced Al Sharpton in the animated comedy “Freaknik: The Musical”, which starred Joey Galaxy and T-Pain, and was directed by Chris Prynoski; it follows a rap group as they’re about to participate in Atlanta’s Freaknik Festival.

Charlie’s final three film roles were in the 2012 comedy “Moving Day”, the 2013 short action comedy “A Saturday Is a Terrible Thing to Waste”, and the 2016 horror comedy “Meet the Blacks”.

Other credits

Charlie worked as an assistant producer on the 1987 action crime comedy movie “Beverly Hills Cop II”, and the 1988 romantic comedy film “Coming to America”.

He’s received five special thanks, some for the 2012 short film “Last Sunset”, the 2013 short action comedy movie “A Saturday Is a Terrible Thing to Waste”, and the 2019 biographical comedy movie “Dolemite Is My Name” (posthumously).

Some of Charlie’s final talk-show appearances were in “Unsung”, “Love and Hip Hop: New York” and “Unsung Hollywood”.

Awards and nominations

Charlie was nominated for a 2008 Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay, for “Norbit”.

Love life and marriage

Charlie preferred to keep his love life away from media, but it’s known that he had been a married man, and a father of two. He and American non-celebrity Tisha Taylor Murphy exchanged vows in a private ceremony on 12 August 1997, in front of their closest family members; it’s believed that they had previously been together for two years, but this remains unconfirmed. Tisha and Charlie have two children together, but as they wanted to keep them away from the media’s attention, they didn’t disclose their names or birthdates; the marriage ended when Tisha died from cervical cancer in December 2009.

Charlie had another child from a previous relationship, but no details regarding the child’s mother have been disclosed.

He was unattached at the time of his passing, was once married to Tisha Taylor Murphy, and they had two children together; Charlie also had a child before meeting Tisha.

Interesting facts and hobbies

Charlie was passionate about martial arts, and practiced karate for more than 10 years.

He was living in Tewksbury Township, New Jersey at the time of his passing.

Charlie was in a street gang during his teenage years, and one of the reasons why he joined the US Navy was to try and escape that kind of life.

He sold his screenplay “The Peddler” to Paramount for $150,000 in 1986, but the movie hasn’t been made to this day.

Charlie was one half of the rap duo K-9 Posse.

He was nicknamed ‘Omar’ as a teenager.

One of Charlie’s favorite actors was his brother Eddie, and some of his favorite movies were “Coming to America”, “Shrek”, and “Beverly Hills Cop”.

Height, eyes and wealth

Charlie would’ve been 63 today. He had brown eyes and was bald, he was 6ft 1in (1.85m) tall and weighed around 180lbs (82kgs).

Charlie’s net worth at the time of his death was estimated at over $2.5 million, while his brother Eddie’s net worth’s been estimated at over $200 million, as of June 2023.

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