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Comedian Charlie Murphy Of 'Chappelle's Show' Dies At 57

Apr 13, 2017
Originally published on April 15, 2017 8:09 am
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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Next, we remember comedian and actor Charlie Murphy. He died yesterday. Murphy grew up in Brooklyn, and after a short jail sentence as a young man, he joined the Navy, where he served for six years.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Later, Murphy worked as head of security for his younger brother, the actor Eddie Murphy. His comedy career began as a writer and performer on "Chappelle's Show." Some of his funniest sketches, called "Charlie Murphy's True Hollywood Stories," depicted his encounters with famous people he met, like Prince.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "CHAPELLE'S SHOW")

CHARLIE MURPHY: Prince, you got a towel, man? It's kind of hot out here, man.

DAVID CHAPELLE: (As Prince) Why don't you purify yourself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka?

(LAUGHTER)

CORNISH: But it wasn't easy for Charlie Murphy to make a name for himself because of his younger brother. He described that experience on NPR's Talk Of The Nation with host Neal Conan in 2009.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

MURPHY: As far as stand-up comedy, I got in the business later than most, yeah.

NEAL CONAN: Yeah.

MURPHY: And the reason behind that was, you know, the opportunity wasn't there. Prior to the "Chapelle's Show," no one would have even listened to me in the frame of, oh, he's trying to be funny, you know? Your brother's Eddie, so what are you doing? But once "Chappelle's Show" came on and took off the way it did, that erased that, you know, and people were like, OK, we want to see more of you.

SHAPIRO: After that, Charlie Murphy's career took off. He later starred in movies, TV series and had his own stand-up special on Comedy Central. Comedian D.L. Hughley described his friend on his radio show.

(SOUNDBITE OF RADIO SHOW, "THE DL HUGHLEY SHOW")

D.L. HUGHLEY: I can say that as sad as I am, I can tell you this about Charlie Murphy. He was the best storyteller I've ever heard. He rushed home to be with his family after every gig. He did comedy his way, and he died with gigs on the books. And that's all you can ever say.

CORNISH: Comedian and actor Charlie Murphy, he died yesterday after a long battle with leukemia. He was 57.

(SOUNDBITE OF ROB CROSS' "WE LEARN") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.