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Beginning in the early 1980s with a spot on the SNL cast and an HBO stand-up special at age 22, Eddie Murphy's iconic comedic career has spanned decades. It's resulted in more than 70 films, a Grammy, Emmy, and SAG award. And we can't forget his Oscar nomination for Dreamgirls.
For the latest episode of The Oprah Conversation, Murphy opened up about his historic years in show business with Lady O, in a chat set to stream on Friday, April 9 on Apple TV+. In an exclusive clip for Oprah Daily, the actor talked about the significance of one of his most celebrated films: 1988's Coming to America.
The comedy followed Prince Hakeem (Murphy), a privileged royal of the fictional African country, Zamunda, as he leaves his native land to find a wife in Queens, New York. More than 30 years later, a sequel premiered on Amazon Prime on March 5.
"Because we have such dark history in this country, when we tell our stories lots of times the themes are really heavy. So when we go to the movies, it's not just escapism," Murphy told Oprah. "We have some buttons pressed, and it's not just entertainment. We're getting educated, and all this stuff is going on. We have to make those movies. Coming to America is none of that. Coming to America is a modern fairy tale, and it's got these powerful Black images of kings and queens and princesses."
In an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live in March, Murphy shared that Oprah told him that she had no idea he also played another key character in Coming to America. The 60-year-old is famous for donning heavy makeup and playing multiple roles in his films—often in the same scenes.
"Last week, I was doing the other interview with Oprah and... I said something about the barbershop [scenes]—and I'm that Jewish man—and she was like, 'What do you mean, you're the Jewish man?' I said, 'Oh yeah, I'm the old Jewish guy in the barbershop.' She was like, 'What?' She couldn't believe it. And she's seen the original Coming to America and all this time didn't know."
Oprah and Murphy's episode of The Oprah Conversation takes places 35 years after their first interview on The Oprah Winfrey Show.
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