A couple of months after he came back to Saturday Night Live but only to accept our applause, Eddie Murphy will get another chance to indulge our adoration with a look back at his comedy career — the Kennedy Center announced today that Murphy will receive the 2015 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.
“Through his appearances on Saturday Night Live, groundbreaking stand-up comedy, and work as a movie star, Eddie Murphy has shown that like Mark Twain, he was years ahead of his time,” Kennedy Center chief Deborah F. Rutter said today.
Added Murphy, via the official announcement: “I am deeply honored to receive this recognition from the Kennedy Center and to join the distinguished list of past recipients of this award.”
Murphy, 54, was only 21 when he starred in 48 Hrs. and became the first SNL cast member to host the show while still a cast member. His string of hits in the 1980s included two Beverly Hills Cop movies, Trading Places, Coming to America and his stand-up special, Raw. He really was The Golden Child of comedy in the 1980s. A younger generation may know his voice best, though, from Donkey in the Shrek films, his many personas in The Nutty Professor, or his Oscar-nominated turn in Dreamgirls.
Past winners this decade of the Mark Twain Prize have included Jay Leno (2014), Carol Burnett (2013), Ellen DeGeneres (2012), Will Ferrell (2011) and Tina Fey (2010).