Eddie Murphy turns 60 years old on April 3 and he’s been a superstar for more than two-thirds of his life. Joining the cast of “Saturday Night Live” when he was only 19 years old, he quickly established himself as a raucously funny and inventive comic genius. His stand-up specials “Delirious” and “Raw” are constantly cited by a new generation of comedians. On film, he was a hit out of the gate, earning raves and accolades for “48 Hrs.” and “Trading Places.” He’s gone on to establish several franchises, from “Shrek” to “Beverly Hills Cop” and can currently be seen reprising one of his most beloved roles in “Coming 2 America,” now on Amazon Prime.
While his skill as a comedian has never been in doubt, Murphy excels at bringing the laughs while also creating complex, fully formed characters. They are rarely caricatures and come from the heart, which is what makes them so memorable. And from the start he’s shown he’s a master of tone, pulling off drama as effortlessly as comedy.
In honor of Murphy and his over 40 years in the spotlight, we ranked his best performances.