Eddie Murphy has undoubtedly distinguished himself as one of the greats—but he wasn’t the only Murphy to have a thriving comedic career. Fans may not know that Charlie Murphy, Eddie’s older brother, also made big waves in Hollywood before his untimely passing. Let’s take a look at the remarkable life of Charlie Murphy.
He Died Of Leukemia At Only 57
In 2017, Charlie Murphy died after a battle with leukemia, leaving his brothers and three children to mourn his passing. But, unfortunately, it wasn’t the first time his family had to deal with a great loss.
Back in 2009, Charlie’s wife, Tisha Taylor, lost her own battle with cancer. After her tragic passing, the actor dedicated himself to caring for his kids. The loss hit him hard, and he never expressed any desire to remarry.
“I don’t believe that you can meet another person that fits just like that,” Charlie admitted to Black Doctor. “She wasn’t even another person. She’s a mirror, you know what I mean. It was like that for 20 years.” But he never gave up hope of finding love again. “I’ll always be grieving for my wife but she said: ‘Go on with your life. Find somebody that can make you happy.’”
Charlie is also fondly remembered by his Hollywood peers. After his passing, the actor’s family received social media tributes from Chris Rock, Ice Cube, DL Hughley, and many more.
Charlie Was A Successful Comedian In His Own Right
The entertainment industry remembers Charlie as far more than just Eddie’s big brother. In 1984, fresh out of the Navy, Charlie threw himself into his brother’s new world. He landed small roles in various films throughout the late ’80s and early ’90s. He had his first major role in the 1993 film CB4.
But the comedian rose to prominence by appearing on Chapelle’s Show in the early ’00s. He was a writer and regular cast member, but he was most popular for his recurring segment, “Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories.” His most beloved skit was when he recalled an entirely true story about Prince beating him in an epic game of basketball.
He also attracted attention for his roles on Adult Swim’s The Boondocks and Black Jesus. Then in 2009, the actor fronted his own sketch comedy series on Crackle called Charlie Murphy’s Crash Comedy.
The very next year, he made waves for his debut stand-up comedy special Charlie Murphy: I Will Not Apologize. He continued to get notable work including voice acting gigs on shows like Black Dynamite and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The actor’s last role was as a recurring character in the Starz series Power, and his turn on the show was fondly remembered.
Charlie And Eddie Maintained A Close Relationship Throughout Their Lives
As two comedians successful in their own rights, you might expect there to be a degree of sibling rivalry between Charlie and Eddie. But, according to the entertainers, that was never the case. In their childhood, Charlie was always the one standing up for his brother. Charlie told Metro UK that, as the older brother, he was expected to protect Eddie, which he never failed to do.
And when Eddie struck career gold with Saturday Night Live, Charlie continued to fill the role of protector by providing security for his brother. But Charlie didn’t care for being an accessory to Eddie. “Being there to support someone else is cool if you’re a troop but I’m a general. I like being out in front,” he explained.
He never settled for just being Eddie Murphy’s older brother, but he also never resented Eddie for his fame. “I’ve never felt like I was living in anyone’s shadow. My life was what it was. I was always proud of my brother,” Charlie explained to Essence.
And the feeling was mutual. Eddie once admitted that he always wanted his brother to become famous so people would appreciate his impression of him. “I’ve been doing him since I was two or three,” Eddie joked. And in 2019, Eddie dedicated his film Dolemite Is My Name to his late brother, since Charlie introduced him to the Dolemite film series.
Charlie Inspired His Stepbrother, Vernon Lynch, Jr., To Go Into Entertainment
Fans may not know that Charlie and Eddie actually have a younger half-brother on their mother’s side named Vernon Lynch Jr. And when his two older brothers found their footing in the entertainment industry, Lynch followed in their footsteps.
With Charlie’s encouragement, Lynch had a brief stint as a hip-hop artist in the group K-9 Posse. He then went on to start a branding and merchandising company with his father to help promote Eddie’s rapidly growing career. They even secured the rights to the comedian’s name and likeness.
As the new millennium approached, he shifted to more hands-on roles in showbiz. He executive produced The Making of Delirious: 25th Anniversary Special, a documentary about Eddie’s 1998 comedy tour. He also co-founded Lynch-Dyson Entertainment and went on to develop the VH-1 show Hollywood Exes.