No matter how big you get in show business, you never forget the entertainers who inspired you in the first place.
Many celebrities have praised the stars of an earlier generation for their influence on their careers. But recently Eddie Murphy revealed the incredible way he repaid one of his comedy heroes.
It’s safe to say that Eddie Murphy has made a huge impact on comedy. From Saturday Night Live to Beverly Hills Cop to his acclaimed stand-up career, Murphy has been one of the biggest stars in the world for decades and many comics cite him as a major influence.
But of course, Murphy was heavily inspired by the generation of comedians before him, and says one of his biggest influences was Redd Foxx.
Foxx was a prolific and highly influential stand-up comic who released over 50 comedy records in his lifetime. His raunchy routines were considered groundbreaking at the time, and you can see how they would’ve influenced Murphy’s style.
Today, Foxx is best remembered for his starring role as Fred Sanford on the classic sitcom Sanford and Son:
When Murphy’s own career took off, he and Foxx became friends. They starred in the film Harlem Nights together.
Despite his successful career, Foxx struggled with deep financial problems and went into bankrupcy. He died of a heart attack in 1991, and was so deeply in debt to the IRS no one even knew how they would afford his burial.
So Eddie Murphy stepped up to cover the expenses, ensuring that the comedy legend would have a proper funeral.
“I buried Redd Foxx,” Murphy revealed to Vanity Fair in January. “I had to physically pay for his funeral, and buy his headstone, and do all that stuff.”
He also said that he’s stepped up to cover these expenses before. While a funeral is no small expense, Murphy was at the height of his career at the time and didn’t think twice about supporing his old friend and mentor.
“We were close, and I did love Redd Foxx,” Murphy said.
Decades later, he still hasn’t forgotten the late comedian: he gave a special shout-out to Foxx in his recent movie Dolemite is My Name: