1. 1980-1984: “SNL”
With such hysterically memorable characters as “Buckwheat,” SNL propelled Murphy to instant stardom, and he was likewise the first among the cast to host the show while still a regular cast member on the show.
2. 1982: “48 Hrs.”
Eddie Murphy’s first starring role, for which he was paid $1 million upfront—the first actor to receive such a large sum in his first big screen appearance.
3. 1984: “Beverly Hills Cop”
Beverly Hills Cop was Murphy’s (even bigger) break after SNL, and perhaps his most well-known role of the eighties.
4. 1987: “Eddie Murphy: Raw”
Raw was Murphy’s second big-name comedy tour, but even more successful than his previous foray, Delirious. (Especially because it was a bit less racy.)
5. 1988: “Coming to America”
Coming to America is an awesome (and hilarious) “period piece” about eighties New York culture, not to mention all of the jokes that go along with an African prince going there to live a “common” life.
6. 1989: “Harlem Nights”
This film marked Murphy’s directorial debut, and starred Redd Foxx and Richard Pryor as gangsters, and Eddie hot on their tails.
7. 1996: “The Nutty Professor”
Though Murphy was already used to playing multiple roles in his films, this one is perhaps most well-known and most quintessential of the bunch, featuring many scenes where you can see him acting all of the roles at the same time.
8. 1998: “Doctor Dolittle”
Doctor Dolittle actually did quite a lot for Murphy’s career, bolstering the success he was riding on from The Nutty Professor, this is still one of his most memorable films by anyone who grew up when it came out.
9. 2001: “Shrek”
Of the aughts, Murphy’s certainly best known for portraying “Donkey” (a donkey) in Shrek—going on to star in two other feature-length sequels, as well as a variety of spin-offs.
10. 2006: “Dreamgirls”
With Murphy starring as “Jimmy ‘Thunder’ Early” in the first all-black starring cast in American cinema history, he reiterated for the first time since the eighties that he could play a serious character—and play him well. In fact, he received an Oscar nomination for “Best Supporting Actor” for his awesome role.
What’s next for Eddie? Take a look back at his life and his great roles in “Eddie Murphy: One Night Only,” airing on Wednesday, November 14th at 10/9c only on SPIKE!