Eddie Murphy has been in the entertainment industry from a young age, and his career has spanned almost forty years now. Did this actor, comedian, and musician ever go to college?
Eddie Murphy did go to college, but did not graduate. After high school, he enrolled at Nassau Community College in Garden City, New York, before dropping out to start his career as a comedian.
Read on below to find out more about Murphy’s short time in college, his debut in comedy and acting, and how he became interested in being a comedian in the first place.
From School to Saturday Night Live
When he graduated from high school, he enrolled at Nassau Community College in East Garden City, New York, for his mother’s sake, but never lost the goal of becoming a comedian. While the college does list him as one of their notable alumni, he attended the college for about two weeks before he dropped out to become a cast member of Saturday Night Live.
Only 19 years old when he joined the show, Murphy is commonly credited for saving SNL in the 80s, when it lost the original cast members. “The sky is the limit for Eddie Murphy,” the show’s producer, Dick Ebersol, said.
Fans of the show loved Murphy’s presence and characters then, and they still love him now, posting things like this remembering his time on the show or like this, praising his ability to connect with the newer actors.
Watch the YouTube video below to see some of Eddie Murphy’s best moments from his time on SNL.
Murphy’s Comedic Inspirations and Idols
As Eddie Murphy was growing up, it was as if he always knew he wanted to be famous. He ruled his school’s cafeterias and recesses, making everyone laugh as much as he could.
Murphy’s parents divorced when he was three years old, so he and his older brother lived with their mom. When he was eight years old, his mother got very sick and the brothers lived in foster care for a while until she recovered.
According to Murphy, his time in the foster care system was one of the biggest influences he had for going into comedy. They didn’t like the woman who was taking care of them, and in an interview with Time, Murphy said, “Those were baaaaad days. Staying with her was probably the reason I became a comedian.”
Murphy began imitating famous people as well as the cartoons he watched on TV. “Even in preschool, the teacher said that Eddie was a character. He was always imitating one cartoon character or another, and as he got older it turned into other people,” his mother explained in an interview from 1981.
“You never had a conversation with just Eddie. He’d come back at you in some voice he’d picked up from television. It could be very annoying,” she laughed.
While he was never very interested in school, he was interested in having an audience, and his classmates loved to be entertained. While he was just a sophomore in high school, he decided to become a comedian after hearing one of Richard Pryor’s albums, and was appearing in shows at bars.
“My focus was my comedy. You could usually find me in the lunchroom trying out my routines on the kids to perform them in clubs later that night,” he said. But when he had to repeat the 10th grade, he started taking school more seriously.
“As vain as I was, I don’t have to tell you what that did to me. Well, I went to summer school, to night school, I doubled up on classes, and I graduated only a couple of months late,” Murphy described.
He graduated having been voted “most popular” by his classmates and with “Comedian” as his future job–and it didn’t take long for him to achieve it.