Comedian Charlie Murphy has passed away. TMZ is reporting that Murphy died this morning in a hospital in New York City after a battle with leukemia. According to the report, Murphy’s family said they are “absolutely shocked” at the news because “they thought he was getting better.” In addition to his work as a standup comedian, Murphy frequently starred in sketches on Chappelle’s Show, was on the voice cast of animated comedies The Boondocks and Black Jesus, and co-wrote films starring his brother Eddie Murphy like Norbit and Vampire in Brooklyn. Here’s an except from our interview with him from back in 2012:
When I first got into acting, I had to go out to California like everybody else, sleep on the floor, go to casting calls. I was doing all of that for years, then I finally got a job – one line and one sound, whatever – and it went from one sound to one sentence to a paragraph to a character to being one of the featureds in a movie. All this happened before I was on Chappelle’s Show. I worked my way all the way up, and then Chappelle’s Show took place and boom. The door was open where I guess this is something you could try – standup. Before that, it wasn’t available to me. It was viewed as an absurdity. Before that, it was viewed as just like, for instance, if all of a sudden, Martin Lawrence’s brother – who you’ve never heard of – showed up: “It’s Martin Lawrence’s brother doing standup!” Nobody’s taking that serious. Because we’ve known Martin so many years, “We’ve never heard of you doing standup!” What was different about me was I had the background of being in a gang of movies and a gang of comedies where I did well. So, when I went on Chappelle’s Show and did well on it, it was a comedy show. That created a portal where it’s, “Okay, we’ll allow you to give it a shot. We’ll see what you can do.” And when I went in there, I was able to hang out, man. I’m still here. It’s been arduous, but I’m handling it. I’m still here, and I get better every time I go out there. And people see that. So I feel extremely humbled and extremely blessed to be able to do something that very few, if any, have done. And still be here. And still be relevant.
Murphy was 57 years old.