The Brooklyn native and brother of Eddie Murphy was himself a prolific stand-up comedian and actor with a number of film and television credits. After serving for six years in the Navy, he got his industry start working security as part of his brother Eddie’s entourage, and eventually came to co-write some films of his as well (Vampire in Brooklyn, Norbit). One of his earliest acting roles came playing Gusto in Chris Rock’s 1993 film CB4. More recently, he was actively involved in a number of Adult Swim series, including Black Dynamite, The Boondocks, and Black Jesus.
Most famously, Murphy was a regular performer on Chappelle’s Show during its run from 2003 to 2005, and co-hosted the “lost episodes” that were left unfinished after Chappelle’s departure. Murphy was one of the show’s most popular performers, from his role as Buc Nasty in the recurring “Player Haters Ball” skits to his voice work of the world’s saddest version of Oscar the Grouch from the “Kneehigh Park” sketch.
But Murphy’s most memorable contributions were the “Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories,” in which Murphy simply sat in front of a green screen and recounted some of his wildest exploits from his days partying with Eddie. His tales of beating up Rick James and getting schooled at basketball by a fully-outfitted Prince are the show’s most lasting and iconic sketches, and Murphy’s perfectly seen-it-all deadpan and hysterical one-liners (“He was a habitual line-stepper”) were the key element of their success.
He is survived by his three children; his wife Tisha passed away as the result of her own battle with cancer in 2009.