Murphy, older brother of superstar comedian Eddie Murphy, built a successful career in stand-up comedy and movies over nearly four decades. Initially known for supporting roles in films like “Mo’ Better Blues” and “CB4,” he later became famous for his work on “Chappelle’s Show,” particularly the two “Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories” sketches where he recounted surreal interactions with Rick James and Prince.
His legacy touched many comedians and comedy fans of different generations, who shared their condolences on social media and turned #RIPCharlieMurphy and ”Charlie Murphy” into Twitter trending topics:
Damn. So sad. RIP @charliemurphy— Official Wanda Sykes (@iamwandasykes) April 12, 2017
As comedians we have all lost a brother. My deepest condolences to the Murphy family. Rest In Peace Charlie Murphy pic.twitter.com/rrDh9rZHIP— Dick Gregory (@IAmDickGregory) April 12, 2017
We honor Murphy’s legacy with the five choice clips below:
“Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories: Rick James”
This sketch brought Murphy (and James) to a new generation and publicly showcased Murphy’s penchant for animating absurd stories of celebrities he met and befriended with his brother.
“Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories: Prince”
Lather, rinse and repeat—but with Prince, a basketball game and some well-placed pancakes.
Murphy’s first major supporting role came in this 1993 West Coast hip-hop parody, in which he played Gusto, a nightlife kingpin who seeks revenge after being unwittingly sent to jail and, later, wittingly impersonated by rising rapper Albert (Chris Rock).
“The Boondocks’ ” series premiere, “The Garden Party”
Murphy’s raspy growl featured in many animated shows, including “The Boondocks,” based on Aaron McGruder’s politically confrontational comic strip of the same name. The series premiere introduces Ed Wuncler III, a wealthy White man and loose allusion to George W. Bush, whose obsession with violence and rap slang is outweighed only by his ineptitude at nearly everything he attempts. Here, Murphy voices Wuncler as he crassly describes why he left active military duty in Iraq.
“I Will Not Apologize” Stand-up Special
Much of the unapologetic, politically incorrect candor that made Murphy’s film and TV roles so memorable traces back to his stand-up comedy. In this bit from his 2010 Comedy Central special, “I Will Not Apologize,” he criticizes celebrities’ turns to rehab after they make discriminatory remarks.