Eddie Murphy is returning to Saturday Night Live this weekend to host, and we cannot wait. Back in the early 1980s, SNL gave Murphy a national audience and made him a HUGE star. He created iconic characters for the long-running sketch comedy show including Buckwheat, Mister Robinson, and Gumby. Of course, Murphy's version of Gumby wasn't the cheerful Claymation one. Murphy's Gumby was cynical and depressed. His catchphrase: "I'm Gumby, dammit!" became a catchphrase for the entire show. It's unlikely that Murphy will bring Buckwheat back this weekend, since he was assassinated on camera, live in front of 30 Rockefeller Plaza on March 12, 1983, at Murphy's request. He simply got tired of constant demands from fans to "Do Buckwheat! Do Buckwheat!"
Murphy was born on April 3, 1961, in Brooklyn and raised in the neighborhood of Bushwick. He became obsessed with comedy when he heard one of Richard Pryor's comedy albums as a teenager. When Eddie joined SNL in 1980, the show was struggling. Lorne Michaels had left the show. The original stars had all left. Murphy is credited with saving the show.
Murphy appeared in 65 episodes of SNL from 1980 to 1984. He was just 19 when he joined the NBC show. His material often tackled race issues in edgy ways. Sketches like "Mister Robinson's Neighborhood" and "White Like Me" have become classics. The show launched him to superstardom. In a 2015 list of the greatest SNL cast members to date, Murphy was ranked second behind John Belushi. Now, Murphy is returning to host Saturday Night Live for the first time since he left the show in 1984. And, even more excited, he's going to do a stand-up set. The only other time Murphy has appeared on SNL since 1984 was during the 40th anniversary special, but he didn't tell a single joke or perform a single sketch.
Murphy launched his film career while he was still on SNL with 1982's 48 Hours. He followed up with a series of smash hits including Trading Places, the Beverly Hills Cop films, Coming to America, Harlem Nights, and Another 48 Hrs. Murphy's box-office draw dropped slightly in the 1990s but was revived with a series of family-friendly movies, notably Mulan, the Shrek franchise, Dreamgirls, and the Nutty Professor movies. In 2006, Murphy was nominated for an Academy Award and won a Golden Globe for his role in Dreamgirls. In 2019 it was announced that Eddie would be reprising his role in Coming To America.
Net Worth: After leaving SNL, Eddie went on to earn an enormous fortune, one which we currently peg at $200 million:
To date his movies have grossed nearly $6.7 billion at the worldwide box office. That makes him the sixth-highest grossing American actor at the box office. Throughout the late 80s, 90s, and 2000s, Eddie has consistently been one of the highest-paid actors in the world, routinely earning $20 million per movie. During his career to date, Eddie has easily earned over $300 million in salaries and backend royalties.
Notable Paychecks: In terms of his salary over the years, Murphy earned just $4,500 per episode of Saturday Night Live in 1981. The following year his salary was raised to $30,000 per episode.
His first major paycheck came in 1984 when he earned $1 million for the film Best Defense.
In 1987 he earned $8 million for Beverly Hills Cop II, that's the same as around $18 million today after adjusting for inflation. He earned another $8 million the next year for Coming to America. For 1994's Beverly Hills Cop III he earned $15 million, the same as roughly $25 million in today's dollars. He earned $16 million for The Nutty Professor (1996), $17.5 million for Doctor Dolittle (1998), $20 million for Nutty Professor II (2000). For Nutty Professor II he also received 20% of the gross receipts, which brought his total payday to more than $60 million from the film. Eddie then earned $3 million for Shrek (2001), $20 million from Doctor Dolittle 2 (2001), $20 million for The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002), $10 million for Shrek 2 (2004), $4 million for Shrek Forever (potentially as much as $12 million with backend points) and $7.5 million from Tower Heist (2011).
In the 1980s, 90s and early 2000s alone, Eddie earned at least $250 million in film salaries and backend points. His career film earnings likely top $300 million.
He will likely earn tens of millions more by reprising his roles in the upcoming reboots Coming 2 America and Beverly Hills Cop 4.
Netflix Deal: This year, Murphy signed a $70 million deal with Netflix to develop a series of comedy specials. To put that in perspective, that's $10 million more than the $60 million Dave Chappelle earned for his 3-special deal. Chris Rock earned $40 million for two specials.
When you total it all up, of the deals we KNOW about, Eddie has earned at least $420 million during his career to date. Now you can start to understand how he can afford that $30 million Beverly Hills mansion and $20 million private island in the Bahamas…
Basically, it's Eddie Murphy's world, folks, we just live in it with him! Set your DVRs, Murphy's appearance on SNL is sure to be hilarious!