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|Also Known As:||Billy Mclean,William Mclean||Died:|
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Charlie Murphy may have followed in the footsteps of his younger brother Eddie Murphy by going into a career in standup comedy, but he charted his own path, and gained unexpected fame thanks to some classic bits on "Chappelle's Show" (Comedy Central, 2003-06). Born on July 12, 1959, in Brooklyn, NY, Murphy had a rough and tumble upbringing. Murphy served ten months in prison as a teenager for a number of gang-related offenses, then joined the U.S. Navy soon after his release. While working as a boiler technician overseas, Murphy personally witnessed the Beirut barracks bombing of 1983, which claimed the lives of 307 people. When Murphy got back to the states, his younger brother, Eddie Murphy was on his way to becoming a bona fide superstar. Eddie cast Charlie in small roles in a number of his films, including "Harlem Nights" (1989), "Vampire in Brooklyn" (1995), and "Norbit" (2007), and also made him a permanent part of his entourage, which would come into play for Charlie in a big way later on. Murphy caught a big break when he became a cast member on "Chappelle's Show," appearing in sketches that utilized his imposing physique and menacing demeanor to great comedic effect. However, Murphy truly became a household name thanks to the infamous "Rick James" sketch, in which Murphy told a number of hilarious, too strange for fiction tales of hanging out with the troubled "Super Freak" singer at the height of his popularity in the 80s. The sketch ignited a cultural zeitgeist, and Murphy suddenly found his own name turned into a catchphrase. A similar sketch about a game of pickup basketball with Prince was also a hit, and showed that Murphy was an innately gifted storyteller. After "Chappelle's Show" ended in 2006, Murphy was still highly in demand, performing standup all over the world and appearing in a number of films, including "King's Ransom" (2005), "Roll Bounce" (2005), and "Night at the Museum" (2006). Murphy went through a tragic setback in 2009, when his wife of over ten years, Tisha Taylor Murphy, died of cervical cancer. Murphy pressed on, releasing a standup special through entitled "Charlie Murphy: I Will Not Apologize" (Comedy Central 2010) the very next year. On April 12, 2017, Charlie Murphy died at the age of 57, due to complications from leukemia.
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