eddie murphy
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Eddie Murphy is still shocked that he’s made it through over 40 years of fame. The actor and comedian was reflecting on avoiding the pitfalls of fame as his stardom rose in the 1980s on The New York Times’ podcast, “The Interview.” Referring to Prince, Michael Jackson, and other stars, Murphy said he looked at them as “cautionary tales.” However, it was his experience on a night out with Robin Williams and fellow “Saturday Night Live” alum John Belushi that gave him pause about what could have happened.

Murphy recalled going out with Belushi and Williams, and “they started doing coke,” but Murphy turned it down. Murphy said, “Over the years, I trip about that moment because I was really young, and it was so easy to try some coke. I wasn’t taking some moral stance. I just wasn’t interested in it. To not have the desire, the curiosity of it, I’d say that’s providence. God was looking over me at that moment; I didn’t make a left turn. Everything would have been different.”  Murphy said he was only 19 at the time, and his recollection is likely from the year he joined “SNL” in 1980, the year Belushi left. Belushi died two years later, in 1982, at age 33, from a drug overdose. Williams had been struggling with cocaine at the time as well, but following Belushi’s death and the birth of his first son in 1983, he quit “cold turkey,” according to friend Stanley Wilson in Vice’s “The Dark Side of Comedy” documentary.

Murphy said, “When you get famous really young, especially a black artist, it’s like living in a minefield. Any moment, you can step on a mine. At any moment, something can happen that can undo everything. But I was oblivious to the fact I was in a minefield. And now, at this age, I can look back and be like, ‘Wow, I came through a minefield [over] 35 years.’ How do you make it through a minefield for 35 to 40 years? Something has to be looking over you.” Murphy reflected on the outing with Williams and Belushi, telling The Hollywood Reporter “Awards Chatter” podcast in 2016, “There are a bunch of things like that that I look back on and be like, ‘Wow.’ And that just reaffirms my faith. I know that God is real. There’s been a bunch of times when I could have wound up crashing and burning.”

The father of 10 also noted in the Times’ “Interview” podcast he doesn’t drink and only “smoked a joint for the first time at 30 years old. That’s the extent of drugs.” One of Murphy’s idols, Richard Pryor, struggled with substance abuse, something that kept them at a slight distance. He said, “Richard had substance problems and alcohol [problems]. He had all these demons and stuff. We had nothing in common outside of the fact that we were both funny. All I wanted to do creatively was meet Richard Pryor and be funny to [him].” Murphy and Pryor starred together in the 1989 film “Harlem Nights,” also written and directed by Murphy.

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