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African American actor and comedian Eddie Murphy (b. 1961) spent a year in foster care as a child.

Edward Regan Murphy was born in New York City. He and his older brother Charlie lived with their parents, Lillian and Charles in Bushwick, a multi-cultural neighbourhood in Brooklyn. Lillian was a telephone operator and Charles was a transit police officer. Murphy’s parents divorced when he was three years old. His father was murdered when he was eight.  

Shortly after the death of their father, Murphy and his older brother were placed in a foster home for about a year while their single mother recovered from tuberculosis. Murphy believes these experiences helped him develop a good sense of humour. 

A few years later, Lillian married Vernon Lynch Sr., who Murphy affectionately called his “Pops”. The couple later had a son named Vernon Jr. The family moved to Long Island when Murphy was ten years old. Murphy remembers his childhood as a happy one. 

“I had a great upbringing… Most of my childhood memories are fond. It was pretty normal kid stuff” (Spencer, 2021).

As a student at Roosevelt Junior-Senior High School Murphy was more interested in making people laugh than studying. He began performing stand-up at bars and clubs in Long Island at the age of fifteen. Audiences loved his celebrity impersonations and social commentary. At first, his parents were unsupportive. But Murphy was determined to be a star.  

Around 15, I started saying, ‘When I’m 18, I’m gonna get famous,” (Spencer, 2021).

Murphy’s career took off when he was only nineteen with a role on Saturday Night Live. Some of his early films include Coming to America (1988) and Beverly Hills Cop III (1994). Murphy became a global sensation, starring in numerous films in the 1990s and 2000s and performing stand-up comedy.  

In 2007, Murphy won an Oscar nomination and the Golden Globe for best supporting actor in the film, Dreamgirls. He also has several Golden Globe nominations for his performances in 48 Hrs., the Beverly Hills Cop series, Trading Places, and The Nutty Professor. Murphy was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humour in 2015. 

Murphy recently returned to the spotlight to host Saturday Night Live in 2019, a performance for which he won an Emmy Award. In 2021, he starred in Coming 2 America in a follow-up to his original 1998 film. 

Murphy is the proud father of ten children and a grandfather. His oldest son, Eric, was born in 1989.  

“Along the way I realised that if you put your children first, you never make a bad decision… My kids are smart and are trying to do stuff. I am blessed with my kids. I really, really got lucky” (Mama Mia, 2023).

Murphy began dating his long-term girlfriend, Paige Butcher, in 2012. Butcher is a model and actress who had a small role in the film Big Momma’s House 2. The couple met on set. They have two children named Izzy Oona and Max Charles.  


“10 children to 5 different mothers and an Aussie fiancée: Eddie Murphy’s complicated family life.” Mama Mia, 12 Jan 2023. 

“Feb 3: Brooklyn Black History Maker, Eddie Murphy”. BK Reader, 3 Feb 2021. 

Spencer, Amy. “‘I’ve Had a Charmed Life’! Eddie Murphy Gets Real About Coming 2 America and Growing up Funny.” Parade, 5 March 2021. 

 Tikkanen, Amy. “Eddie Murphy”. Britannica. 

Image available here.