Sunday, April 03, 2011

Eddie Murphy Is 50

In the 1980s, I guess there was no comedian who was hotter than Eddie Murphy.

He really seemed to be on top of the world. He was the star of Saturday Night Live for some five years, then he began making movies — and comedy specials for cable TV.

Murphy was his generation's Richard Pryor or George Carlins in the 1980s — both were influences on him, by the way, as they were for, most likely, every comedian who has come along in the last 40 years. Comedy Central ranked them as the top two comedians of all time, but it had a lot of regard for Murphy, too, ranking him 10th.

His career — and his life, too, for that matter — has had its peaks and valleys, I suppose, and he was criticized at times for being too insensitive. But he has managed to re–invent himself whenever it has been necessary.

I guess it is only to be expected that, from time to time, he would fall from such lofty heights. Murphy's films, according to Box Office Mojo, are second only to Tom Hanks' in box office receipts.

His lifetime total — for his voice work in the "Shrek" movies and his signature performances in films like "Beverly Hills Cop," "Coming to America," "Trading Places," "48 HRS." and "The Nutty Professor" — exceeds $3.7 billion.

Happy birthday, Mr. Murphy, and I would wish you many more — except I have to wonder if there are any mountains left to climb.