Movie Article

From Gumby to the Globes

A timeline of Eddie Murphy's career -- EW charts the landmarks of the comedian's public and private lives

1980
Saturday Night Live
Eddie Murphy joins the cast as a featured player but soon emerges as the show's star, thanks to characters like Gumby.

1982
48 HRS.
After Richard Pryor and Gregory Hines pass, the role of convict Reggie Hammond falls to Murphy, who rides it to stardom.

1983
Delirious
Murphy's first solo concert film sparks controversy for what some regard as its excessive profanity and homophobic material.

1983
Trading Places
This modern take on the Prince and the Pauper fable, costarring Dan Aykroyd, outgrosses 48 HRS., with $90 million.

1984
Beverly Hills Cop
Director Martin Brest's action-comedy, starring Murphy as wisecracking Detroit cop Axel Foley, breaks box office records.

1985
''Party All the Time''
Murphy scores a hit single with his debut album, though he will later suggest it's not one of his prouder moments.

1988
Coming to America
Murphy's last '80s hit is the subject of litigation when writer Art Buchwald successfully claims his idea had been stolen.

1989
Harlem Nights
Murphy's first and only directorial effort, costarring his idol Pryor, is met with generally bad reviews.

1993
Marries Nicole Mitchell
Murphy's marriage brings an end to his bachelor-with-a-posse era and eventually produces five children.

1995
Vampire in Brooklyn
''Eddie Murphy as the living dead: that's not a bad description of his career,'' writes a New York Times film critic.

1995
Mocked on SNL
Murphy is reportedly enraged when he becomes the butt of a nasty joke by David Spade on his former show.

1996
The Nutty Professor
With the broadly appealing Jerry Lewis remake, Murphy plays multiple characters and sees his career rebound.

1997
Scandal erupts
Murphy is pulled over with a transvestite prostitute in his SUV, though he claims he was merely being a Good Samaritan.

2001
Shrek
With Murphy providing the voice of the ogre's donkey sidekick, the animated film becomes a $268 million-grossing blockbuster.

2002
The Adventures of Pluto Nash
The misbegotten sci-fi comedy, for which Murphy reportedly earns $20 million, grosses just $4 million.

2002
I Spy
Cast opposite rising star Owen Wilson, Murphy remakes Bill Cosby's '60s TV show, but the film proves a box office dud.

2003
Daddy Day Care
Despite poor reviews, this kiddie comedy grosses $104 million, proving Murphy's drawing power as a family star.

2006
Paternity feud
After breaking up with Melanie Brown, Murphy lands in the tabloids again when he suggests her unborn baby might not be his.

2006
Dreamgirls
Murphy's turn as James ''Thunder'' Early is heralded as a revelation. He wins a Golden Globe and may get an Oscar nomination.

Originally posted Jan 26, 2007 Published in issue #917 Jan 26, 2007 Order article reprints
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