The Hollywood community is in mourning once again, after losing another beloved actor and comedian. Charlie Murphy, the older brother of legendary comedian Eddie Murphy and star of the iconic comedy series Chappelle's Show, has passed away at the age of 57. Murphy's manager confirmed that he died from Leukemia earlier this morning in a New York City hospital, where he was undergoing chemotherapy.
TMZ reports that the actor's death comes as an absolute shock to his family, since they had thought he was improving. The site says that his family would call him frequently, and that he would even joke that they were calling him too much. It hasn't been confirmed how long he had been undergoing chemotherapy treatment for, before his death.
Charlie Murphy was born July 12, 1959 in Brooklyn to Lillian Murphy, a telephone operator, and Charles Edward Murphy, a New York transit officer who was also an amateur actor and comedian. During his teenage years, Charlie Murphy was part of a street gang. According to his 2009 book "The Making of a Stand-Up Guy," the late comedian reveals that he received three years probation for his first offense, robbing a driver at gunpoint, but in the final year of his probation, he was arrested for larceny, loitering and other misdemeanors. Since this violated his probation, he was sentenced to serve the rest of his probation, 10 months, in the Nassau County Jail. The same day he was released from jail in 1978, he enlisted in the United States Navy, where he served for six years as a Boiler Technician.
His entertainment career didn't begin until the late 1980s, making his feature film debut alongside his brother Eddie Murphy in 1989's Harlem Nights, which he followed up with small roles in Spike Lee's Mo' Better Blues and Jungle Fever, but his first major role was playing M.C. Gusto in the 1994 cult comedy classic CB4, alongside Chris Rock. The next year, he would also get a story and screenwriting credit on Eddie Murphy's Vampire in Brooklyn, which was directed by the late great Wes Craven. He also wrote Paper Soldiers starring Kevin Hart and Eddie Murphy's Norbit, while appearing in small roles in films like The Player's Club, Unconditional Love and Death of a Dynasty, but the late actor became best known for his "Charlie Murphy's True Hollywood Story" sketches on Comedy Central's Chappelle's Show.
Charlie Murphy had co-starred in various sketches on Chappelle's Show, and was also an uncredited writer, but two of the show's most popular sketches ever were his "Charlie Murphy's True Hollywood Story" sketches about the late musician Prince and Rick James. The sketches were based on true stories Charlie Murphy experienced alongside his iconic brother in the 1980s. Rick James himself appeared in his sketch, confirming the story was true, while Prince would later confirm that Charlie Murphy's hilarious basketball story was also true. Prince would go on to use an image from that sketch, with Dave Chappelle as Prince serving pancakes, as the artwork for his 2013 single "Breakfast Can Wait."
After Chappelle's Show abruptly went off the air, Charlie Murphy would go on to star in movies like King's Ransom, Roll Bounce, Night at the Museum, The Perfect Holiday, Frankehhood, Lottery Ticket, Our Family Wedding and last year's Meet the Blacks. He also provided the voice of Ed Wuncler III on The Boondocks and starred on TBS' Are We There Yet? and Black Jesus, and most recently, he had a recurring role on Starz's Power. Charlie Murphy is survived by his three children, and is preceded in death by his wife Tisha Taylor Murphy, who he was married to from 1997 until her death in 2009.