To most people, Charlie Murphy was simply the older brother of legendary comic actor, Eddie Murphy. However, he was so much more than that. The late Murphy was an accomplished comic, actor, and screenwriter. Even though he never reached the height his brother attained, he recorded several achievements and made a name for himself in Hollywood.
His career and ultimately, his life, was cut short in 2017 when the actor died at the age of 59. The life and career of the actor and comedian became a thing of interest following his death, even though while he was alive, he was always talked about in reference to his brother.
Charlie Murphy Had a Difficult and Troubling Life Before Fame
Charles Quinton Murphy was born on the 12th day of July 1959 in Brooklyn, New York City. His father’s name was Charles Edward while his mother’s name was Lillian. He had a younger brother named Eddie, who many years later, has become one of the most celebrated actors in Hollywood.
Murphy’s parents divorced when he was five and he, alongside his brother, subsequently grew up with their mom. Lillian later encountered health challenges and the boys had to spend some time in foster care. During this period, Murphy suffered domestic violence at the hands of his foster mom but did not allow that to define him.
As a teenager, Charlie Murphy encountered several troubles with the law and eventually ended up in jail. He was set free in 1978 and upon his release, he promptly joined the US Navy. The future Hollywood star spent six years in service and was honorably discharged in 1983.
His Hollywood Journey Began as Part of Eddie’s Security Guard
At the time of his discharge, his younger brother, Eddie, was already a fast-rising Hollywood star and Murphy promptly joined his entourage as a security guard. This brought him in close contact with Hollywood and he naturally pursued a career in that direction.
He started in the hip hop community with the hip hop group K-9 Posse. On the debut album of the group, he had a credit for two songs, “Say Who Say What” and “Somebody’s Brother”.
Charlie Murphy commenced his acting career in the late 80s with a minor part in Harlem Nights (1989), a movie produced and directed by his brother. After that humble debut, he went on to star in several movies and TV series including Black Jesus, Power, Are We There Yet?, The Boondocks, One on One, 1000 Ways to Die, Black Dynamite, Hawaii Five-O, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Death of a Dynasty.
Charlie Murphy was also an accomplished comic and was most famous for his work on the comedy TV series, Chappelle’s Show. The show ran from 2003 to 2006 and he had a segment titled Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Story. The segment involved him recounting his experience with the celebrities he encountered in Hollywood. His hilarious version of encounters with legendary singers, James Brown and Prince, would go on to become enduring hits.
Having spent many years as an actor, Charlie made his last movie appearance in 2016 when he took the role of a drug dealer named Key Flo in Meet the Blacks. He appeared in the film alongside stars like Zulay Henao who acted as his wife, Mike Epps, Gary Owen, and Snoop Dogg. On TV, his last appearance was in 2017 when he appeared in 5 episodes of Power as Marshal Clyde Williams. The Comedy Get Down was released after his death in 2017.
Charlie Was Successful But Not as Much as Eddie
The career of Charlie was first built on the shoulder of Eddie Murphy who also helped him at some point as he progressed. By the time the older Murphy would get drawn into the showbiz, his brother had already started making a good name for himself.
More so, being the more talented of the two, Eddie did not only get to start before Charlie, but he also rose higher. Eddie is also an actor and a comedian as well as a singer. He has three musical albums to his name as well as other singles and compilations. In addition to that, Eddie Murphy has also appeared in more lead and successful roles than Charlie. He is also a Golden Globe Awards winner, as well as Academy Awards nominee.
With that said, the two had the numbers stuck in their favor financially, although Eddie still stood far taller than Charlie as he has a net worth that is estimated at $200 million.
Charlie Murphy, on the other hand, had a net worth of $2.5 million at the time of his death. His wealth largely stemmed from his career earnings over the years. Apart from acting and comedy, Murphy was also an accomplished screenwriter. He co-wrote the scripts for movies such as Vampire in Brooklyn (1995), Paper Soldiers (2002), and Norbit (2007). Norbit is a 2007 comedy that was headlined by Eddie Murphy and Thandie Newton. It was a commercial success and grossed $159 million on a budget of $60 million.
He Got Married to the Love of His Life in 1997
Charlie Murphy was married once during his lifetime. He tied the knot with a lady named Tisha Taylor Murphy in 1997. The two first met on a boat while Tisha was with her friends. It was love at first sight for them. Although she did not know who he was on the night of their first meeting, the comedian asked her to come with him. Her friends told her not to, but she went with him. He drove her straight to meet his brother and parents to whom he introduced her as his future wife.
By August 1997, his prophecy came through as they got married. She was the love of his life and according to him, she was not only a perfect fit for him, but she was also his mirror. The couple’s union produced two children named Xavier and Eva. The kids were 18 and 11 respectively at the time of their father’s death.
Murphy and his wife remained together until she died of cancer in 2009. Before she died, Tisha had made all the arrangements for her funeral and also asked that her husband remarried after she was gone. However, he did not as he found no one worthy of taking her place.
The actor had another child from a previous relationship. This, therefore, means that he’s survived by a total of three children.
Charlie Murphy Also Lost His Life to Cancer
— Navie⚓️Blu (@MsLauren_Bossy) April 12, 2017
Charlie Murphy passed away on the 12th of April 2017 as a result of leukemia. He battled blood cancer for a while before bowing to death at the age of 59. It seems that the actor already had a premonition of his death and had made peace with it as he posted an emotional message on his Twitter account a day before his demise. The post simply said, “one to sleep on: release the past to rest as deeply as possible”.
One to Sleep On: Release the past to rest as deeply as possible.
— Charlie Murphy (@charliemurphy) April 12, 2017
What was more tragic about the death of Murphy is that he went the same way as his wife who also lost her life to cancer even though hers was cancer of the breast. Charlie lived for 8 years before joining his wife.
Upon Murphy’s demise, his younger brother and the rest of the family released a statement that said he filled their lives with laughter and that they would forever miss him. His death also led to an outpouring of tributes from several personalities including Chris Rock, Spike Lee, Magic Johnson, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Gabrielle Union who described him as a kind, sweet, and funnyman.