Legendary Eddie Murphy Reportedly In Talks With Netflix For A Deal Worth $$$66MILLION

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EDDIE Murphy was the biggest comedy star of the Eighties, with hit after hit at the box office.

But the laughter stopped and the hits dried up, while the star has a habit of shooting himself in the foot with controversial comments and a chaotic personal life.

After a scandal involving a transgender prostitute, fathering ten kids by five women and a string of flop movies, it appeared his star power had disappeared for good.

But Murphy, 58, is back in a big way — and could make a fortune from his return to our screens. This autumn, he stars in Dolemite Is My Name, a Netflix biopic about US comedian and actor Rudy Ray Moore.

A sequel to Murphy’s 1988 hit Coming To America is due out next year, co-starring Wesley Snipes. And Murphy is said to be in talks with Netflix for a series of stand-up shows in a deal that could be worth $66MILLION, according to reports.

Murphy confirmed his return to stand-up earlier this year, saying: “I’m going to do it again. Everything just has to be right.”

Fans went wild on social media after a trailer for Dolemite Is My Name was released. But has Murphy — the first African-American to become a major Hollywood box-office star — adjusted to today’s social climate?

Raised by single mum Lillian in Brooklyn, New York, his comedy idols included Richard Pryor and Robin Williams. His father Charles was a transit cop who split from Lillian when Murphy was three and died five years later.

Charles was a keen amateur comic and actor himself. By the age of 16, Eddie was doing stand-up at local clubs. And in 1980, he got his big break on American telly institution Saturday Night Live — kickstarting a rise to superstardom.

His first major movie role was in 1982 buddy-cop drama 48 Hours opposite Nick Nolte. That was a big hit, followed a year later by Trading Places, co-starring Dan Aykroyd.

Beverly Hills Cop was America’s highest-grossing movie of 1984 and only Clint Eastwood could rival Murphy’s box-office appeal.

But it was not all plain sailing. Murphy’s 1983 comedy special Delirious — though hugely popular and influential — prompted widespread accusations of homophobia.

Years later, he apologised for “any pain” he caused with material that has not aged well. It was not his only brush with controversy. In 1997, a new scandal shattered Murphy’s public persona.

On May 2, at 4.45am, police pulled him over at a notorious cruising spot in Los Angeles, with transgender prostitute Shalimar Seiuli.

At the time he was married to Nicole Mitchell, with whom he has five children. Murphy insisted he was a “good Samaritan” simply giving Seiuli a lift. No action was taken by police but Seiuli sold her story to the National Enquirer, claiming Murphy had asked to see her in lingerie.

Murphy threatened to sue but later dropped the suit. The following year, Seiuli was found dead, aged 21, on the pavement outside her apartment. It is thought she was locked out and fell five floors to her death while trying to climb in.

Murphy’s marriage survived until 2005 while his film career saw hits such as The Nutty Professor and Dr Doolittle.

He insisted he paid no attention to criticism, saying: “I haven’t read a newspaper in 20 years. I don’t read stuff about me. If there’s an article about me, someone has to read through it before they give it to me. I don’t want to read any of that s**t so I don’t know what y’all think.”

In 2001, he voiced the fast-talking Donkey in Shrek, earning £2.5million. He was paid £8.2million to return for the sequel. In 2006, Murphy won a Golden Globe for a serious dramatic role in Dreamgirls.

He bagged an Oscar nomination too, but was reported to have stormed from the auditorium when the gong went elsewhere, missing his co-star Jennifer Hudson’s Best Supporting Actress win.

Murphy later insisted: “I didn’t have sour grapes at all.” Meanwhile, his private life was in turmoil. Divorced from Nicole, he was dating Spice Girl Mel B.

She claimed they were in love, planning to marry and had each other’s signatures tattooed on their thighs. When she became pregnant, Murphy — at this time father to seven kids by three women — publicly questioned the child’s paternity.

In one interview, he told a Dutch reporter: “I don’t know whose child that is until it comes out and has a blood test.”

Mel, who recently admitted Murphy was the love of her life, has said: “He apologises to this day about that. He wishes he never said it because that baby was planned.

“We planned that baby together and we were madly in love and it just went wrong. It dramatically went wrong.” When she became pregnant, Murphy — at this time father to seven kids by three women — publicly questioned the child’s paternity. In one interview, he told a Dutch reporter: “I don’t know whose child that is until it comes out and has a blood test.”

Mel, who recently admitted Murphy was the love of her life, has said: “He apologises to this day about that. He wishes he never said it because that baby was planned.

“We planned that baby together and we were madly in love and it just went wrong. It dramatically went wrong.” She gave birth to Angel Iris Murphy Brown on April 3, 2007.

Soon afterwards, Mel started dating Stephen Belafonte, whom she married in 2007 and divorced ten years later after suffering years of abuse. Murphy was confirmed as Angel’s father when she was just a couple of months old. But by then, he was already engaged to film producer Tracey Edmonds.

They held a ceremony on New Year’s Day 2008 on a private island near Bora Bora in the middle of the Pacific Ocean — but split 14 days later without making the marriage legally binding.

In recent years, his private life appears to have stabilised. In 2012, he started dating Aussie model Paige Butcher and has settled into family life with their two young children.

And, in December, he posted a photo online with all ten of his kids.

His movie career has featured forgettable efforts such as The Adventures Of Pluto Nash, Tower Heist and Mr Church. He once reasoned: “Every now and then you crash and burn but that’s part of it.”

A low point was A Thousand Words, which staggered into cinemas in 2012, four years after it was made, earning scathing reviews asking: “Is this the worst film of all time?”

A fourth Beverly Hills Cop movie has long been rumoured but shows no sign of emerging. Murphy told Rolling Stone magazine in 2011: “I only want to do what I really want to do.

“Otherwise I’m content to sit here and play my guitar all day. I always tell people now I’m a semi- retired gentleman of leisure. He added: “I got on Saturday Night Live when I was 18 or 19, so it’s been 35 years of my face. You get sick of looking at people’s faces. I know I do. There are people whose faces pop up and I just turn the channel. And I was like, ‘I’m sure I’m that to some people’.”

Some critics believe that Murphy’s brand of humour simply no longer fits. But the veteran performer still has one eye on that elusive Oscar.

“What’s the one they give you just because you’ve been in the business so long?” he has said. Eventually they’re gonna have to give me that.”

Only time will tell if he will keep further scandal from tarnishing his comeback.

His hits and misses

Eddie Murphy’s highest-earning films…

Shrek 2 (2004) £763million

Shrek The Third (2007) £663million

Shrek (2001) £402million

Beverly Hills Cop (1984) £262million

Beverly Hills Cop II (1987) £249million

Doctor Dolittle (1998) £244million

Coming To America (1988) £240million

…and some of his flops

Mr Church (2016) £569,000

The Adventure Of Pluto Nash (2002) £5.9million

Holy Man (1998) £10million

Vampire In Brooklyn (1995) £16million

A Thousand Words (2012) £18million

Imagine That (2009) £19million

Meet Dave (2008) £42million

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