Charles Quinton “Charlie” Murphy, was born in Brooklyn and raised by his mother and stepfather after his birth father left the family and was later stabbed to death. After serving in the United States Navy, he began a career as a comedian, often sharing the spotlight with his superstar younger brother whose career took off just as his was beginning. Charlie Murphy made his feature-film debut alongside Eddie in 1989’s Harlem Nights, then went on to appear in CB4 and Night at the Museum.
Murphy’s greatest success, however, came with the 2003-06 TV hit Chappelle’s Show where he was a recurring character actor. Starring in classic sketches that cast him as himself in “Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories,” the comedian would remember his “adventures” in Eddie’s entourage, hanging out with the likes of Prince and Rick James.And all along that journey into the spotlight, his wife Tisha was there.
Losing a spouse is painful for anyone, and especially so when there are kids involved. Since losing his wife of 12 years, Tisha Taylor Murphy, to cancer in 2009, comedian and actor Charlie Murphy has never been the same.
On Losing His Wife
“I came home and she’s in the kids’ room, crying. That’s when she told me. Cervical cancer. You don’t really grasp it. When the person tells you they’re going to die, you go crazy. You become a different person from the moment you hear those words.”
“A young woman like that — don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t do drugs. I know people that’s ninety who do all of that.”
“She’s a very organized woman. When she died, all the arrangements had been made. She made her own arrangements.”
“I’m not okay; you’re never really okay you just learn to live with it. That’s something monumental, losing somebody that close in your life. It happened to my children, and me you don’t get used to[it] and you don’t get over it,” the comedian told Vibe in an interview.
Though he is clearly had to grieve, Charlie said he has had to cope for his kids’ sake.
“I have responsibilities as a man to other people—I have children. Okay, you can be hurt but you’ve still have to do what you’ve got to do and take care of your responsibilities. I didn’t have…
… a luxury of taking a year off. I’ve been baking this [career] cake for a minute and taking a year off will really cool it off a lot. So I couldn’t do that, I had to follow thru with what I’m doing [my work.] And now I’ve been blessed with the ability to do it and God has been working with me and family. Has it been a baby’s ride? No, but we’re okay. As a man, if you lose your wife it’s a horrible experience especially with kids. But when one person passes away and you’re still alive, people still depend on you—that’s what you have to lean on.”
“For me, it was an instant. The first night I met Tisha was on a boat. She was having dinner with her friends. She didn’t know who I was, and I asked her to come with me. Her friends told her not to go. But she did. We drove straight to my brother’s house. My mother was there. My stepfather was there. Eddie was there. They were all in the kitchen. I walked in and said, ‘This is my future wife.’”
“We fit,” explains Murphy. “I don’t believe that you can meet another person that fits just like that. She wasn’t even another person. She’s a mirror, you know what I mean. It was like that for twenty years.
On Living Life
“I believe everyone has a gift, an ability. Something that you actually realize and start to hone. There are people who are acknowledged as the top electrician. The top dentist. The number-one brain surgeon. There are people who’ve become millionaires from plumbing.”
Charlie Murphy: Real-Life Comedy & Losing The Woman He Loved was originally published on blackdoctor.org