Charlie Murphy, an actor and comedian who shot to prominence after hilarious performances in several iconic “Chappelle’s Show” sketches, died Wednesday from complications from leukemia in a New York hospital, his publicist confirmed to TheWrap.
Murphy, the older brother of comic legend Eddie, co-wrote some of his more famous sibling’s movies, including “Norbit” and “Vampire in Brooklyn.” But Charlie Murphy is best known for his “C! True Hollywood Stories” sketches on Dave Chappelle’s mid-2000s Comedy Central show, where the two of them hilariously reenacted experiences the Murphy brothers had with celebrities including the late Prince and Rick James.
The James skit, which involved the braided singer saying “f— yo’ couch” while dragging muddy boots across Eddie Murphy’s pristine white sofa, first aired during the second season of “Chappelle’s Show” in 2004. And for a sketch that included quotables like the couch expletive and “cocaine is a hell of a drug,” James’ justification for destroying upholstery, “I’m Rick James, bitch,” became the series’ most memorable line and took on a life of its own — for better or worse. Fans shouting the line repeatedly interrupted Chappelle during stand-up performances, and it contributed somewhat to the comedian quitting his show in 2006.
Murphy’s “C! True Hollywood Story” about a basketball game at Prince’s Paisley Park estate also delivered golden quotables in bunches, such as when Murphy’s crew taunted musician’s frill-clad friends before a game of basketball as “shirts versus blouses.” When Prince’s team won in convincing fashion, the singer retorted, “game, blouses” — at least according to Murphy’s memory of the events. Following the embarrassing defeat, Prince served Murphy and his fallen teammates pancakes.
After “Chappelle’s Show” ended, Murphy took on roles including Ed Wuncler III on Cartoon Network’s animated series “The Boondocks,” and starred in a sketch comedy series on streaming service Crackle, called “Charlie Murphy’s Crash Comedy.” He also toured as a stand-up comedian and had a 2010 special, “Charlie Murphy: I Will Not Apologize,” on Comedy Central. Murphy was scheduled to perform as part of “The Comedy Get Down” in Detroit on May 13.
Murphy was born in Brooklyn on July 12, 1959. He was married to Tisha Taylor Murphy for 12 years until her death in 2009, and the couple had two children together in addition to Murphy’s child from a previous relationship.
Just last week, Murphy honored Prince with a post on his Facebook page as the one-year anniversary of the purple-clad singer’s death approached:
Can't believe it's been almost a year!? RIP to the Purple One✊🏿
Comedy colleagues across the world paid tribute to Murphy, including one of today’s biggest stars, Kevin Hart: