Charlie Murphy, the comedian, voice-over artist and older brother of actor and comic Eddie Murphy, died Wednesday at a hospital in New York City. He was 57.
His publicist, Domenick Nati, said the cause was leukemia. No other details were immediately available.
With his brother’s help, Murphy began his show-business career in the late 1980s, mostly taking bit roles in movies. Decades later, he became best known for a part on Dave Chappelle’s acclaimed sketch-comedy series “Chappelle’s Show,” which was broadcast on Comedy Central from 2003 to 2006.
In the fan-favorite series of sketches known as “Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories,” which Murphy helped write, he would spoof himself, regaling viewers with stories of his encounters with celebrities like Rick James and Prince. Both James and Prince later confirmed that the skits were based in truth.
Murphy’s first major movie role was in “CB4,” the 1993 comedy about a fictional rap group, which also starred Chris Rock. Most recently, Murphy starred in the Adult Swim series “Black Jesus,” which was first broadcast in 2014, and voiced a character in the animated Adult Swim show “The Boondocks.”
He also provided the voice of a dog in Eddie Murphy’s film “Norbit” (2007), which he helped write. He was credited as a writer on his brother’s 1995 movie “Vampire in Brooklyn” and on the 2002 movie “Paper Soldiers,” which starred Kevin Hart in his film debut.
Murphy’s web series, “Charlie Murphy’s Crash Comedy,” was seen on Crackle in 2009. His Comedy Central stand-up special, “Charlie Murphy: I Will Not Apologize,” was broadcast in 2010.
In an interview with the British Columbia newspaper The Vancouver Province in 2010, Eddie Murphy addressed his brother’s fame and its effects on his career.
“For me to start a comedy career after he established that was really a big risk,” he said. “Extremely intimidating, but I’m that kind of dude. If I’m afraid of something, I’ll deal with it and get past it. I did the work, I showed up when I had to show up. Get up, shake it off and keep moving, that’s what I’ve been doing.”
Charlie Murphy was born on July 12, 1959, in Brooklyn, New York, to Charles Edward and Lillian Murphy. His father was a transit officer, his mother a transit operator. His father died when Murphy was a child; his mother subsequently married Vernon Lynch Sr., who helped raise the children and died in 2001.
In the 1980s, before his foray in Hollywood, Murphy spent several years in the Navy.
His wife, Tisha Taylor Murphy, died of cancer in 2009. They had two children together, and Murphy had a third child from a prior relationship. They survive him. Besides his brother Eddie, his survivors also include a half brother, Vernon Lynch Jr.
“You can have a way for people to get to know you for real,” Murphy said in the 2010 interview. “At the end of the day, when Charlie Murphy ain’t here no more, I’ll have a body of work that people can laugh and remember me by.”