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Eddie Murphy on Refusing to Do Drugs With John Belushi, Robin Williams

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Eddie Murphy is recalling the pitfalls that come with being famous at such a young age.

In an interview with The New York Times, the 63-year-old actor opened up about being just 19 years old when he was already hanging out with giants like John Belushi and Robin Williams (Belushi died of an overdose in 1982 while Williams died by suicide in 2014). And it was during that period when cocaine was also prevalent, especially in show business.

“I don’t drink. I smoked a joint for the first time when I was 30 years old — the extent of drugs is some weed,” he explained. “I remember I was 19, I went to the Blues Bar. It was me, Belushi and Robin Williams. They start doing coke, and I was like, ‘No, I’m cool.’ I wasn’t taking some moral stance. I just wasn’t interested in it. To not have the desire or the curiosity, I’d say that’s providence. God was looking over me in that moment.”

Murphy was just 19 years old when he joined Saturday Night Live in 1980, a move that gave the iconic sketch show a lifeline (it was reportedly on the verge of being canceled) and turned him into a massive superstar. But with the fame and fortune also came the pitfalls, and he was keenly aware of that.

John Belushi at a party in New York City.Getty
Robin Williams in 1986.Getty

“When you get famous really young, especially a Black artist, it’s like living in a minefield,” he said. “Any moment something could happen that can undo everything. It was like, all of this stuff is going on, and I’m totally oblivious. Now, at this age, I can look back and be like, ‘Wow, I came through a minefield for 35 years.’ How do you make it through a minefield for 35, 40 years? Something has to be looking over you.”

Murphy’s resume is unparalleled. From his countless standup specials to his iconic movies, the actor-comedian, it’s exactly why he was bestowed with the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 2023 Golden Globe Awards last December, an award presented to “a talented individual for their outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment.” Past recipients of the award include Jane Fonda, George Clooney, Morgan Freeman, Oprah Winfrey, Robert De Niro, Audrey Hepburn, Harrison Ford, Jodie Foster, Sophia Loren, Steven Spielberg, Denzel Washington, Tom Hanks and more.

And he’s not slowing down anytime soon. Not only is he in the middle of promoting his latest project, Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F (out July 3 on Netflix), he’s also working on a new Shrek movie. Murphy exclusively told ET that a Donkey spinoff has been in the works for some time now.

“We started doing Shrek six months ago,” Murphy told ET. “So Shrek is coming back. So we’re doing another Shrek and we’re doing a Donkey movie. There’s a Donkey, we have a Donkey movie.”  

Murphy voiced the swamp ogre’s faithful donkey sidekick in all four Shrek films. The beloved franchise began in 2001 with Shrek. It spawned three sequels – 2004’s Shrek 2, 2007’s Shrek the Third and 2010’s Shrek Forever After.

And now, the fifth Shrek movie is in production. No word on when it’ll be released.

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