Eddie Murphy says 'race has never been an issue' for him during his career

Amy Johnson
·3-min read
Eddie Murphy, winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award, attends the 25th Annual Critics' Choice Awards at Barker Hangar on January 12, 2020 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Champagne Collet)
Eddie Murphy (Getty Images for Champagne Collet)

Eddie Murphy has said race has "never" been an issue for him in his Hollywood career.

The 59-year-old got his big break after becoming a cast member on US sketch show Saturday Night Live in 1980.

The actor has starred in cinematic hits like Trading Places, Beverly Hills Cop and the Shrek film franchise with his films grossing more than $6.7bn dollars (about £4.8 bn) at the global box office.

He's now shared with Radio Times that being Black hadn't harmed his career as he said he's "transcended" the issue.

Read more: Eddie Murphy returns as Prince Akeem in Coming 2 America trailer

“In terms of my work and my career, race has never been an issue," Murphy told the publication while promoting his comedy sequel Coming 2 America.

"Beverly Hills Cop", directed by Martin Brest. Seen here from left, Judge Reinhold as Det. William 'Billy' Rosewood, Eddie Murphy as Det. Axel Foley and John Ashton as Det. Sgt. John Taggart. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)

“I’ve been making movies for 40 years and never once could I not get a movie made because I was Black. I transcended that stuff. But that’s not to say I walked out of heaven and into Hollywood.

“I’m a Black man who was born in America; I’m African American. Growing up in this country, there’s no way you’re not going to have to face some s***.”

Murphy said it wasn't just African Americans who were impacted by lack of diversity as "women and other minorities" were also affected.

"White men run this business. It’s always been this way,” he said.

Murphy recently revealed that Paramount, the studio that released the original Coming To America in 1988, had mandated a white person be cast in the film. Talking on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Murphy said, “They were like, ‘There has to be a white person in the movie.’ I was like, ‘What?’ So who was the funniest white guy around? We knew Louie [Anderson] was cool, so that's how Louie got in the movie.”

Eddie Murphy photographed on the red carpet of the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 05, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California. (P. Lehman / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
Eddie Murphy said the film industry was run by white men. (Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

The comedian is starring in the upcoming sequel Coming 2 America which sees him step back into the role of Zamundan prince Akeem Joffer, a character he made famous in 1988 film Coming to America.

Read more: 50 most exciting movies coming out in 2021

The follow-up film sees Akeem discover he has a son he never knew about living in Queens, prompting him and friend Semmi (Arsenio Hall) to return to the US.

Coming 2 America launches 5 March on Amazon Prime.

With additional reporting by PA.

Watch: Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall say they had to cast a white person in Coming to America