Northeast Times

Charlie Murphy doesn’t need Eddie for a job reference

Charlie Murphy back­stage and per­form­ing live at the House of Blues in Las Ve­gas, NV. March 14, 2009 ***EX­CLUS­IVE*** © Scott Har­ris­on / Ret­na Ltd.

Al­though Charlie Murphy has ap­peared in count­less films since the late 1980s, toured in many coun­tries, and even gained a name for him­self after his ap­pear­ances on The Dave Chap­pelle Show, there’s no deny­ing that there are still people out there who think of him only as Ed­die Murphy’s older broth­er.

But the truth is, most people aren’t aware that Charlie Murphy ac­tu­ally got in­to show busi­ness be­fore his baby broth­er. At the age of 9, Charlie Murphy was cast in the ma­jor mo­tion pic­ture The Land­lord, star­ring Beau Bridges, Lou Gos­sett Jr. and Pearl Bailey.

It might have ended there, but Charlie Murphy evolved over the years from be­ing known for his fam­ous broth­er Ed­die to pav­ing his own path to­ward a suc­cess­ful ca­reer in en­ter­tain­ment.

He’s had many tele­vi­sion and movie ap­pear­ances in Roll Bounce, CB4, Jungle Fever and Har­lem Nights, while con­tinu­ing with a suc­cess­ful stand-up ca­reer. He will take the stage at the He­li­um Com­edy Club in Cen­ter City from Nov. 16 to 19.

Raised on Long Is­land and born in­to what he calls “an ex­tremely tal­en­ted fam­ily,” 52-year-old Murphy ac­know­ledges that his little broth­er was the only fam­ily mem­ber who went on to be­come fam­ous for his tal­ents.

As a young man, Charlie Murphy went in­to the Navy, and by the time he got out, Ed­die had already skyrock­eted to fame, hav­ing par­layed his suc­cess on Sat­urday Night Live in­to star­ring roles in 48 Hours, Trad­ing Places and Beverly Hills Cop.

Later, it was his little broth­er who gave his big broth­er a job mak­ing more money than he had ever made in his life.

“I be­came one of Ed­die’s se­cur­ity guards, but you can’t be an ef­fect­ive se­cur­ity guard for a sib­ling,” he says. “I think it just didn’t work out be­cause of our re­la­tion­ship. Really, it just didn’t work out for me. I wanted to do something where I felt I was con­trib­ut­ing, not just stand­ing on the side­lines. When I real­ized this was not what I was meant to do, I stopped.”

So Charlie Murphy de­cided to do some writ­ing in­stead and took some courses, learned film struc­ture, and star­ted writ­ing well enough to come up with a script to sell to Para­mount Stu­di­os.

“But I didn’t real­ize just how hard you have to work to pro­duce a script, and that there’s a ‘good old boys’ club that ex­ists out there, and that most things that are pro­duced are writ­ten by them.”

But Murphy was nev­er dis­cour­aged and nev­er sat idly by. His act­ing skills came to the fore­front as he began per­form­ing and work­ing with such act­ors as Den­zel Wash­ing­ton, Halle Berry, Danny Ai­ello, Queen Lati­fah and oth­ers.

And later there were more chances to prove his writ­ing skills, such as the time he col­lab­or­ated with his little broth­er on a film titled Nor­bit

Murphy ex­plains that Nor­bit was Ed­die’s idea.

“He hired me to help co-write it. He didn’t have the time or the dis­cip­line, so we wound up writ­ing it to­geth­er,” he says. “It made sev­er­al mil­lion dol­lars, but no floodgates opened after that. But I really liked work­ing with Ed­die. And I real­ize that he didn’t write the script with me be­cause I’m his broth­er — he wrote Nor­bit with me be­cause I’m a good writer.”

Now in the pro­cess of tour­ing and de­vel­op­ing what he hopes will be his own TV show, Murphy re­mains very busy. “And that’s just the way I like it,” he says.

As far as ad­vice for oth­ers, he says he has none ex­cept for two words: “Be tough.”

“I see people in this busi­ness who are fam­ous al­though they have zero tal­ent,” Murphy says. “That’s the real­ity of the busi­ness. So just keep go­ing and nev­er give up. That’s all I can say.” ••

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