These shitty things really do come in threes. A publicist has confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter the sad news that Charlie Murphy, Eddie Murphy’s older brother and arguably the funnier Murphy, died yesterday after fighting against leukemia. He was only 57.
Charlie wasn’t as famous as his younger brother, but he did gain a cult following in his later years, if people can have a cult following. Charlie had a few roles in TV and film in the late 80s and early 90s and he was pretty much still known as Eddie Murphy’s brother/bodyguard or the guy who wrote Vampire in Brooklyn. It wasn’t until the early 2000s when he became famous for being himself while performing on Chappelle’s Show. Specifically, after writing and starring in a series of sketches called Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories. Charlie talked about his encounters with Rick James and his legendary “shirts vs. blouses” basketball game with Prince. We have Charlie Murphy to thank for “I’m Rick James, bitch!”
After Chappelle’s Show ended, he appeared in a bunch of movies and TV shows, and had a pretty strong voice-over career. Most recently he showed up in a few episodes of Power. He leaves behind three children. He was married to Tisha Murphy from 1997 until her death from cancer in 2009. This was Charlie’s last tweet:
One to Sleep On: Release the past to rest as deeply as possible.
— Charlie Murphy (@charliemurphy) April 12, 2017
Let’s end with Charlie telling the story about Prince kicking his ass on the court. I’d like to believe that Prince greeted Charlie at the gates of Heaven with a basketball in one hand and pancakes in the other.