HELLO AMERICA!—When I first met Eddie Murphy years ago at Paramount Studio in Hollywood, I knew instantly that he would be a major surprise in the film industry. Everything about him was perfect for the camera, the way he looks, facial expressions and even that insane, animal-like laugh he has would work for film characters. It was good to rehash some of the old things we discussed during his debut days in Hollywood.
MSJ: Eddie, you’ve grown a lot since those early days when we first met at Paramount.
EM: Hey man, I hope so. And I remember how nervous I was meeting you at first. I first heard you on the radio in New York and then I saw you on the Joe Frankly TV show and you didn’t mind telling it like it is, and it was something I didn’t expect. In a way it helped to shape my attitude and approach to my work as an actor in this town. People have tried and still try to lead you in any direction which might benefit them, but I’ve learned how to deal with a lot of “BS.”
MSJ: What were some of the biggest challenges as an actor since coming to Hollywood?
EM: Well, once you make a ton of money for a producer or company, automatically you are faced with offers from every direction of the business. I received all kinds of film scripts from everybody with the title of producer or director. Not only that, there is a helluva lot of offers from TV companies as well as live comedy shows in all of the major theaters around the country. Hell! It was overwhelming, unbelievable, and I must admit, it felt damn good in so many ways.
MSJ: And the women?
EM: Yeah! They showed up in all forms: fat, skinny, half naked and some cases “naked.” And I had to stop at one point and deal with reality and actually ask myself why was this happening to me because when I was on SNL I never got this kind of response from women, but when they saw me on the big screen I suddenly was a rock star! Now something is wrong with that and I had good sense enough to realize that truth.
MSJ: Was this Tinsel town glow transferred over into your marriages?
EM: Michael, I knew you’d go there.
MSJ: Well, you’ve been married a few times. Has it been tough to separate the Eddie Murphy the movie star and Eddie Murphy just a guy who is simply a husband and father?
EM: You know, in retrospect I had to realize that many of the women with whom I’ve been involved only was interested in the “Eddie” the world watched on the screen. They really didn’t care that much for the “real” me, the guy who simply enjoyed working, or making people laugh. And hell, I’m not the only one in this business; there are both men and women in the same boat. But, you know something; I’m going to keep on trying to find the right place and person that gives life meaning for me. And I know it ain’t going to be easy.
MSJ: Are you really happy with Eddie Murphy as he is today?
EM: Sure I am! Why not? As long as I can make people laugh and not sit around feeling feel sorry for themselves, then I can honestly say that really makes my day.
By Michael St. John