NEW YORK — Charlie Murphy, the older brother of Eddie Murphy and a comic performer in his own right who turned encounters with Rick James and Prince into standout sketches on “Chappelle’s Show,” has died. He was 57.
Murphy died Wednesday in New York of leukemia, according to his representative, Domenick Nati.
He was perhaps best-known for his appearances on Dave Chappelle’s Comedy Central show. In the recurring segment “Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories,” Murphy would recount how his brother’s fame brought him into the orbit of the biggest stars. His versions of the experiences, played out by him, Chappelle and others, became enduring hits.
In one sketch, James is shown as an impulsive big-mouth who keeps spouting, “I’m Rick James, (expletive)!” and trades punches with Murphy. In another, Prince is at first mocked for his frilly shirt but then shows his slick moves on the basketball court. The music legend then serves everyone pancakes.
“Who the (expletive) could make up” those events, Murphy asked at the end of the sketch.
He collaborated with writing his brother’s starring films “Norbert” and “Vampire in Brooklyn.” He voiced a role in the animated TV series that includes “The Boondocks” and also appeared in the comedy series “Black Jesus.”
Fellow celebrities mourned his death.
Comedian Chris Rock tweeted, “We just lost one of the funniest most real brothers of all time.” Former basketball great Magic Johnson tweeted that “I haven’t seen anything as funny as Charlie Murphy & Dave Chappelle’s skits on the Chappelle’s Show!” and “Hamilton” playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda tweeted that Murphy’s “storytelling was hilarious and unforgettable.”
DL Hughley, who toured with Murphy and other comedians recently, tweeted: “After every gig, he rushed home to be with his kids. He died with gigs on the books.”
Murphy’s feature films include “Our Family Wedding,” ”King’s Ransom” and “CB4.”
He is credited with appearances to air later this year on the Starz TV drama series “Power.”
“He joined ‘Power’ for our upcoming season, and his talent shines in every scene,” the channel said in a statement.
The Associated Press