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François Hollande biography

QUICK FACTS

NAME
François Hollande

OCCUPATION
President of France

BIRTH DATE
August 12, 1954

EDUCATION
École des Hautes Études Commerciales, Paris, École Nationale d’Administration, Strasbourg, Institut de Sciences Politiques, Paris

PLACE OF BIRTH
Rouen, France

ZODIAC SIGN
Leo



François Hollande is the 24th president of France, and a member of the Socialist Party. He succeeded Nicolas Sarkozy in 2012.


Synopsis

François Hollande was born in Rouen, France in 1954. He attended a series of elite French schools and joined the Socialist Party in 1979.

First elected to the Ussel town council, he went on to win a National Assembly seat in 1988. He was made chair of the Socialist Party and announced a bid for the presidency in 2011, and beat incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy to become France's 24th president in 2012.

Early life

François Gérard Georges Nicolas Hollande was born on August 12, 1954, in Rouen, France to a right-wing physician father and a progressive social worker mother.

The family moved to Paris when Hollande was 13, and after graduating from the public school system, he attended the Institut de Sciences Politiques and then the École des Hautes Études Commerciales, France's top business school. He then entered the École Nationale d'Administration.

Hollande demonstrated an early interest in politics and volunteered for François Mitterrand's second unsuccessful presidential campaign while he was still a student. Five years later, in 1979, he joined the Socialist Party. By then, Mitterrand had been elected on his third try and he appointed Hollande a junior economic advisor. Hollande held this post until he went to work for Max Gallo, the press secretary to former prime minister Pierre Mauroy.In 1983, Hollande began serving on the Ussel town council and was elected to the National Assembly in 1988. Although he lost his seat in 1993, he reclaimed it in 1997. That same year, Lionel Jospin tapped Hollande to be the Socialist Party chairman.  Hollande was then elected mayor of Tulle in 2001 and held the post until 2008

In March 2011, Hollande announced that he would seek the Socialist Party nomination for president. He faced five other candidates in the primary, including Ségolène Royal and the frontrunner, IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn. When Strauss-Kahn was arrested in New York on sexual assault charges, Hollande took the lead in polls. He won the party's nomination on October 16, 2011. The following January, Hollande outlined a list of policies that he would seek to enact if elected, including increasing taxes on corporations, reducing the retirement age, establishing a public investment bank to promote French industry, and granting marriage and adoptions rights to same-sex couples.President Nicolas Sarkozy announced that he would seek re-election in February 2012 and promptly began criticizing Hollande’s proposals, claiming they would be disastrous for the economy. Polls initially showed a close race, but Hollande pulled ahead comfortably in the second ballot. He won France's presidential election on May 6, 2012 and was sworn in on May 15. He was the first candidate in 31 years to unseat an incumbent president after a single term.

While a student at Ecole Nationale d'Administration University, Hollande met and began dating Ségolène Royal. They lived as domestic partners but did not marry, having four children together. Royal had political aspirations of her own and, in 2007, ran for the presidency against Hollande's wishes. A few weeks after her defeat, the couple announced their separation.Mere days after they made the announcement, Royal published a book accusing Hollande of having an affair with Valerie Trierweiler, a political journalist with Paris Match. Hollande admitted to the affair, and he and Trierweiler have been together since.In January 2014, photos published in Closer magazine allegedly showed Hollande being taken via a scooter to a Paris apartment that had recently been lent to French actress Julie Gayet. The photos spurred wide speculation about an alleged affair between the president and the actress. In addition to this scandal, reports claimed that the apartment where Hollande and Gayet had met was connected to the Corsican mafia.

Dilma Rousseff biography

QUICK FACTS

NAME
Dilma Rousseff

OCCUPATION
President of Brazil

BIRTH DATE
December 14, 1947

PLACE OF BIRTH
Belo Horizonte, Brazil

FULLNAME
Dilma Vana Rousseff

NICKNAME
Iron Lady


Synopsis

Rousseff was raised in an upper-middle-class household. Her father was a lawyer who immigrated to Brazil from Bulgaria, and her mother was a teacher. In 1964 Brazil’s president was overthrown by a coalition of civilian and military officials, and the teenaged Rousseff became involved in the left-wing opposition to the government. She was associated with the militant group National Liberation Command (Comando de Libertação Nacional; Colina), and she married fellow activist Cláudio Galeno Linhares in 1968.

After a raid on a Colina safe house resulted in police fatalities, the pair went into hiding in Rio de Janeiro. She and Galeno later fled Rio de Janeiro for Porto Alegre, subsequently separated, and in 1981 divorced.

Rousseff moved to São Paulo, and it was there in 1970 that she was arrested by government forces. She was imprisoned for three years on the charge of subversion and during that time was subjected to torture by her captors.Upon her release in 1973, Rousseff resumed her education; she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics from the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul in Porto Alegre in 1977.

As the grip of the dictatorship weakened, Rousseff became active in local politics, and she was appointed finance secretary for Porto Alegre in 1986. She left that position in 1988 and later spent two years as president of the Foundation of Economics and Statistics of Rio Grande do Sul state (1991–93).

Road to presidency

She returned to government work in 1993 as secretary of mines, energy, and communications for Rio Grande do Sul, and she was credited with increasing energy efficiency and power production within the state. Rousseff left that post in 1994 and later pursued a Ph.D. in economics. Before receiving the degree, however, she was called back to her former government post in 1999, and it was there that she became affiliated with Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s Workers’ Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores). Her standing in the party quickly rose, and she left her government job in 2002 to serve on the staff of Lula’s successful presidential campaign.Upon taking office in 2003, Lula appointed Rousseff minister of mines and energy, and she was named chair of the Brazilian state-run oil concern Petrobrás. Rousseff emphasized the need for Petrobrás to expand its production capacity, and in 2005 Lula appointed her his chief of staff.

An expanding economy and a shrinking poverty rate boosted Lula’s popularity, but he faced a constitutional limit of two terms, so he began grooming Rousseff to be his successor.

She stepped down from Petrobrás in March 2010 to prepare for her presidential campaign. In the first round of voting, in early October, Rousseff failed to capture the 50 percent of votes needed to avoid a runoff. In the second round, held later that month, she won a commanding victory,
capturing some 56 percent of votes. She was sworn into office on January 1, 2011. Making her the first ever Brasilian female president.

In October 2014 she won the brazilian presidential poll, and waa re-elected


Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Biography

QUICK FACTS

NAME
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

OCCUPATION
President (Libaria)

BIRTH DATE
October 29, 1938

EDUCATION
College of West Africa at Monrovia, 
University of Colorado at Boulder,
Madison Business College, Harvard University

PLACE OF BIRTH
Monrovia, Liberia

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is the world's first elected black female president and Africa's first elected female head of state.


Synopsis

Born in Liberia in 1938, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was schooled in the United States before serving in the government of her native Liberia. A military coup in 1980 sent her into exile, but she returned in 1985 to speak out against the military regime. She was forced to briefly leave the country again.
When she won the 2005 election, Johnson Sirleaf became the first female elected head of state in Africa. In 2011, she was one of a trio of women to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Younger Years

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was born on October 29, 1938, in Monrovia, Liberia. A graduate of the College of West Africa at Monrovia, she went on to receive her bachelor's degree in accounting from the Madison Business College in Madison, Wisconsin, a degree in economics from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a Master of Public Administration degree from Harvard University.

Early Political Career

After returning to Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf served as assistant minister of Finance in President William Tolbert's administration. In 1980, Tolbert was overthrown and killed by army sergeant Samuel Doe, who represented the Krahn ethnic group. Johnson Sirleaf went into exile in Nairobi, Kenya, as well as in the United States, where she worked as an executive in the international banking community.

In 1985, Johnson Sirleaf returned to Liberia and ran for a seat in the Senate, but when she spoke out against Doe's military regime, she was sentenced to 10 years in prison. She served a partial sentence before moving to Washington, D.C. When she returned to her native country for a third time in 1997, it was as an economist, working for the World Bank and Citibank in Africa.

President of Liberia

After supporting Charles Taylor's bloody rebellion against President Samuel Doe in 1990, Johnson Sirleaf ran unsuccessfully against Taylor in the 1997 presidential election. Taylor subsequently charged Johnson Sirleaf with treason. In 2005, after campaigning for the removal of President Taylor, Johnson Sirleaf took over as leader of the Unity Party. That year, promising economic development and an end to corruption and civil war, she was elected to the Liberian presidency. When she was inaugurated in 2006, Johnson Sirleaf, or the "Iron Lady," as she was also known, became the world's first elected black female president and Africa's first elected female head of state.


Despite Charles Taylor's large number of followers in Liberian government, including his son-in-law and estranged wife, President Johnson Sirleaf submitted an official request to Nigeria for Taylor's extradition in 2006. Five years later, she shared the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize with Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkol Karman, awarded "for their nonviolent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work."Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has four sons and six grandchildren, some of whom live in Atlanta, Georgia.

Lionel Messi Biography

QUICK FACTS

NAME
Lionel Messi

OCCUPATION
Children's Activist, Soccer Player

BIRTH DATE
June 24, 1987

PLACE OF BIRTH
Rosario, Argentina

FULL NAME
Luis Lionel Andres Messi

NICKNAME
"La Pulga""Leo""Messidona"


Argentina native Lionel Messi has established records for goals scored and won individual awards en route to worldwide recognition as the best player in soccer.Argentinian soccer player 



Synopsis

Born on June 24, 1987, in Rosario, Argentina, soccer player Lionel Messi moved to Spain at the age of 13, after the FC Barcelona club agreed to pay for hormone-deficiency treatments. Messi became a star in his new country, scoring at will while leading his club to championships.

In 2012, he set a record for most goals in a calendar year, and afterward was named FIFA's "Player of the Year" a record fourth time.

Early Years

Lionel Messi was born Luis Lionel Andres Messi on June 24, 1987, in Rosario, Argentina.
As a young boy, he tagged along when his two older brothers played soccer with their friends, unintimidated by the bigger boys.

At the age of 8, he was recruited to join the youth system of Newell's Old Boys, a Rosario-based club. Recognizably smaller than most of the kids in his age group, Messi was eventually diagnosed by doctors as suffering from a hormone deficiency that restricted his growth. Messi's parents, Jorge and Ceclia, decided on a regimen of nightly growth-hormone injections for their son, though it soon proved impossible to pay several hundred dollars per month for the medication. So, at the age of 13, when Messi was offered the chance to train at soccer powerhouse FC Barcelona's youth academy, La Masia, and have his medical bills covered by the team, Messi's family picked up and moved across the Atlantic to make a new home in Spain.

King of Spain: Soccer Career

Although he was often homesick in his new country, Messi moved quickly through the junior system ranks, and by the age of 16, he had made his first appearance for Barcelona. Messi put himself in the record books on May 1, 2005, as the youngest player to ever score a goal for the franchise. That same year, he led Argentina to the title in the under-20 World Cup, scoring on a pair of penalty kicks to propel the team over Nigeria.

Messi eventually grew to 5 feet and 7 inches, and with his short stature, speed and relentless attacking style, he drew comparisons to another famous Argentinean footballer: Diego Maradona. Messi steered Barcelona to a wealth of success, most notably in 2009, when the left-footer's team captured the Champions League, La Liga, and Spanish Super Cup titles. That same year, after two consecutive runner-up finishes, he took home his first FIFA "World Player of the Year" honor/Ballon d'Or award. Even the great Maradona gushed about his fellow countryman. "I see him as very similar to me," the retired player told the BBC. "He's a leader and is offering lessons in beautiful football. He has something different to any other player in the world."Amazingly, the diminutive soccer wizard continued to improve, discovering new ways to elude defenders while leading Barcelona to La Liga and Spanish Super Cup championships in 2010 and 2011, as well as the '11 Champions League title.

Messi embarked on an all-out assault on the record books in 2012. He became the first player to score five goals in a Champions League match in early March, and a few weeks later he surpassed Cesar Rodriguez's club-record 232 goals to become Barcelona's all-time leading scorer. By the end of 2012, Messi had accumulated an astounding 91 goals in club and international play, eclipsing the 85 netted in a single calendar year by Gerd Muller in 1972. Fittingly, he broke one more record when he was named the FIFA Ballon d'Or winner for the fourth time in January 2013. Messi led team Argentina to the finals of the 2014 World Cup. Although his team lost to Germany, he was named best player of the tournament.

Activism and Fatherhood

Almost universally regarded as the best player in the game, the boyish Messi has become the commercial face of soccer with endorsements from Adidas, Pepsi, EA Sports and Turkish Airways, among other companies. Having signed an extension with Barcelona that guarantees him a base salary of approximately $21 million per year through 2018, he is one of the world's highest-paid athletes. Although he is famously quiet and private off the field, Messi has found ways to help out others in need. In 2007, he formed the Leo Messi Foundation to provide opportunities for disadvantaged youths. In early 2010, UNICEF named him a goodwill ambassador, with a focus on fighting for children's rights across the globe. Messi became a father in November 2012, when his girlfriend, Antonella Roccuzzo, gave birth to their son, Thiago.

Christian Ronaldo Biography

QUICK FACTS

NAME
Cristiano Ronaldo

OCCUPATION
Soccer Player

BIRTH DATE
February 5, 1985

PLACE OF BIRTH
Funchal, Madeira, Portugal

FULL NAME
Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro


Cristiano Ronaldo is a professional soccer player who has set records while playing for both Manchester United and Real Madrid.

Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo plays forward for Real Madrid. He's considered one of the greatest and highest paid soccer players of all time.



Synopsis

Cristiano Ronaldo was born on February 5, 1985, in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal. Manchester United paid £12 million to sign him in 2003—a record fee for a player of his age. In the 2004 FA Cup final, he scored Manchester's first three goals and helped them capture the championship.
nI 2008, he set a franchise record for goals scored. In 2009, Real Madrid paid a record $131 million for his services.

Early Life

Born Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro on February 5, 1985, in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal, a small island off the western coast of the country, Ronaldo is the youngest of four children born to Maria Dolores dos Santos and Jose Dinis Aveiro. He was named after Ronald Reagan, a favorite actor of his father's.

Ronaldo grew up in a largely working class neighborhood, his home a small tin roofed shack that overlooked the ocean. His early life was shaped by hardship; his father, a gardener, often drank too much, and eventually died from kidney problems in 2005. To help keep the children fed, and maintain some financial stability, Ronaldo's mother worked as a cook and cleaning person.

Intro to Soccer

It was through his dad's work as an equipment manager at a boy's club that Ronaldo was first introduced to the game of soccer.
By the time he was 10 years old, he was already recognized as a phenomenon—a kid who ate, slept and drank the game. "All he wanted to do as a boy was play football," his godfather, Fernao Sousa, recalled for British reporters, adding, "He loved the game so much he'd miss meals or escape out of his bedroom window with a ball when he was supposed to be doing his homework."By his early teens, Ronaldo's talent and legend had grown considerably.

After a stint with Nacional da liha da Madeira, he signed with Sporting Portugal in 2001. That same year, at the tender age of 16, Ronaldo turned heads with a mesmerizing performance against Manchester United, wowing even his opponents with his footwork and deft skill. He made such an impression that a number of United players asked their manager to try and sign the young player. It wasn't long before the club paid Ronaldo's team more than £12 million for his services - a record fee for a player of his age.

Akon biography

QUICK FACTS

NAME
Akon

OCCUPATION
Singer, Music Producer, Songwriter

BIRTH DATE
April 16, 1973 (age 41)

EDUCATION
Clark Atlanta University

PLACE OF BIRTH
St. Louis, Missouri

FULL NAME
Aliaume Damala Badara Akon Thiam



Synopsis

Senegalese-American singer Akon was born Aliaume Thiam in St. Louis, Missouri, on April 16, 1973. He lived in Senegal, West Africa, as a child and attended high school in the United States. He has released several hit albums that combine his R&B-style vocals with hip-hop beats, and he has collaborated with many other musicians, including Snoop Dogg, Gwen Stefani, Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson.
He has also faced controversy because of his exaggerated criminal history and his occasional provocative behavior on stage.

Background and Early Career

Singer, songwriter and producer Akon was born Aliaume Damala Badara Akon Thiam in St. Louis, Missouri, on April 16, 1973, to African parents.
His family returned to Dakar, Senegal, in West Africa, when Akon was young and lived there until he was 7 years old, when they moved back to the United States. Akon’s mother, Kine Thiam, is a dancer; his father, Mor Thiam, is a well-known jazz percussionist. Thanks to their influence, Akon heard and loved music from an early age.

After growing up in Jersey City, New Jersey, Akon began singing and performing as a teenager. He attended Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia, for a semester before dropping out. Instead, he turned his attention to the music business, making home recordings and becoming friends with Wyclef Jean of the Fugees. In 2003, he received his own record deal.

Musical Success and Collaborations

Akon's debut album, Trouble, was released in 2004. The album paired Akon's melodic, R&B-style vocals with hip-hop beats and produced several hit singles, including "Knocked Up" and "Lonely." His second album, 2006's Konvicted, was an even bigger success. Several singles from the album became hits that topped the Billboard charts. Two of the singles featured guest appearances by famous hip-hop artists, with Eminem being featured on the single "Smack That" and Snoop Dogg being featured on the single "I Wanna Love You." His third album, Freedom (2008), was somewhat less of a sensation. A fourth album "Konkrete jungle" was release in 2013. Akon has also lent his vocals to records by musicians in a wide range of genres, including Whitney Houston, Gwen Stefani and Lionel Richie. He also sang with Michael Jackson on the duet "Hold My Hand," which was released in 2009 after Jackson's death. He co-wrote Lady Gaga’s hit song "Just Dance," in addition to producing records for a number of artists.


Beyond his work in music, Akon is the owner of two clothing lines—Konvict and Aliaune—and various real estate investments. He also founded the Konfidence Foundation with the mission of empowering disadvantaged youth in Africa and the United States.

Controversy and Criminal History

Akon has also faced numerous controversies and legal difficulties. In 2008, it was revealed that he had exaggerated his criminal background: he had not, as he often claimed in interviews, run a car-theft ring or written his first album during a three-year prison sentence. He had, in fact, only served a few months in jail for the possession of a stolen car in 1998, and he was released when the charges were dropped.

In 2007, Akon faced criminal charges after he threw a fan off the stage during a concert in Poughkeepsie, New York. The same year, he was widely criticized for inappropriate sexual behavior on stage with an underage girl in Trinidad and Tobago. He has also drawn fire for his decision to invest in an African diamond mine.

David Cameron biography


QUICK FACTS


NAME
David Cameron

OCCUPATION
Prime Minister

BIRTH DATE
October 9, 1966

EDUCATION
Eton College, Brasenose College, Oxford,
Heatherdown Preparatory School at Winkfield

PLACE OF BIRTH
London, England, United Kingdom

FULL NAME
David William Donald Cameron


David Cameron is best known for being a revolutionary leader of Britain's Conservative Party, a quality that eventually won him the election as prime minister in 2010.

Synopsis

David Cameron, a descendant of King William IV, was born into a wealthy English family. He received a quality education, and excelled in his studies at a young age. Once he became head of Britain's Conservative party, Cameron sought to modernize it and shed its right-wing image. Dazzling the party and the populace with his bold eloquence, Cameron positioned his party well for the general election of 2010, and when Gordon Brown resigned as prime minister, Cameron replaced him.

Early Life

United Kingdom Prime Minister David William Donald Cameron, a descendant of King William IV's, was born into a wealthy English family on October 9, 1966, in London, England. He was raised in Peasemore, Berkshire by father Ian, a stockbroker, and mother Mary Fleur, a retired Justice of the Peace.An excelling student at the Heatherdown Preparatory School, Cameron entered its top academic class two years early and went to Eton College, described as one of the most famous independent schools in the world, at the age of 13. He later received his Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy, politics and economics, and attended Brasenose College, Oxford, from which the graduated in 1988 with a first-class honors degree.

Early Political Career

Upon graduating, Cameron worked for the Conservative Party's research department, where he remained for five years. The day he was scheduled for a job interview at the Conservative Central Office, a man from Buckingham Palace, called the CCO, put in a good word for Cameron. According to a March 2007 Daily Mail article, "the testimonial, of which Cameron was unaware, was an early intimation of how the ambitious Etonian was helped by well-placed friends and family."In 1991, Cameron began briefing then-Prime Minister John Major, and the following year he was promoted as special adviser to Chancellor of the Exchequer Norman Lamont. Later, Home Secretary Michael Howard recruited Cameron to work for him, primarily in a media relations role. In 1994, Cameron left politics to work as the director of corporation affairs at Carlton Communications, a British media company. He resigned from that role in 2001, in order to continue his pursuit of a Parliamentary seat, which he won.

Political Success

Cameron was officially declared winner of the Leader of the Conservative Party election in December 2005. His win was due in large part to his vow to inspire a new generation; he wanted people to "feel good about being Conservatives again," according to an October 2005 BBC article, which also quoted him as saying, "I want to switch on a whole new generation." Cameron also said that Conservatives had to evolve, otherwise further movement to the right would turn the party into a "fringe group."Seeking to modernize the party and shed it's right-wing image, Cameron dazzled the Conservative Party and the populace with his bold eloquence, and positioned it well for the 2010 general election; when Gordon Brown resigned as prime minister, Cameron replaced him. At age 43, Cameron became the youngest prime minister of the United Kingdom since 1812.

Among Cameron's first actions was forming a pact with Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg—a move that resulted in the first coalition government since World War Two. "We have some deep and pressing problems—a huge deficit, deep social problems, a political system in need of reform," The Telegraph quoted Cameron as saying. "For those reasons, I aim to form a proper and full coalition between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats. I believe that it [is] the right way to provide this country with the strong, the stable, the good and decent government that I think we need so badly."He went on to say, "Nick Clegg and I are both political leaders who want to put aside party differences and work hard for the common good and for the national interest."

Personal Life

Cameron married Samantha Sheffield in 1996, and they have had four children together. Their first child, Ivan, died at the age of 6, from a combination of cerebral palsy and a form of severe epilepsy.

Eddie Murphy biography

QUICK FACTS


NAME
Eddie Murphy

OCCUPATION
Film Actor, Television Actor, Comedian,Director

BIRTH DATE
April 3, 1961

PLACE OF BIRTH
Brooklyn, New York

FULL NAME
Eddie Regan Murphy

Actor and comedian Eddie Murphy began doing stand-up as a teenager. He became a popular Saturday Night Live cast member and starred in several box-office hits.



Synopsis

Eddie Murphy was born in Brooklyn on April 3, 1961. He began doing stand-up comedy as a teenager and later joined the cast of NBC's Saturday Night Live.
At age 21, Murphy co-starred with Nick Nolte in 48 Hours and went on to further box-office success with Trading Places and Beverly Hills Cop.
He continues to star in many movies, including comedies, dramas and family films.

Early Life

Eddie Regan Murphy was born on April 3, 1961, in Brooklyn, New York. He spent his early years in the projects of Bushwick with his father, Charles Murphy, a New York City police officer and amateur comedian, his mother, Lillian Murphy, a telephone operator, and his brother Charles.
His parents divorced when he was three; five years later, his father died and his mother went into the hospital for an extended period.
When Murphy was 9 years old, his mother married Vernon Lynch, a foreman at a Breyer's ice cream factory, and the family moved to the primarily African-American suburb of Roosevelt, Long Island.

Murphy watched a lot of television growing up and developed a great skill for impressions, doing such characters as Bugs Bunny, Bull vwinkle, and Sylvester the Cat. "My mother says I never talked in my own voice," Murphy later said. Although he was never a dedicated student, Murphy found a great forum for his verbal agility in grade school, excelling in the popular game of "ranking"—trading witty insults with classmates. Hosting a talent show at the Roosevelt Youth Center at age 15, Murphy delighted his young audience with an impersonation of Al Green.

This early success ignnited a passion for showbiz, and Murphy began working on his comedy routines after school and performing stand-up at local bars, clubs, and "gong shows." His school work suffered, however, and Murphy had to repeat the 10th grade as a result. By doubling up on classes, and attending summer and night school, he graduated only a couple of months late. Murphy was voted the "most popular" boy in his graduating class.
His declared career plan: comedian.

Mainstream Success

Responding to the pleas of his mother, Eddie Murphy enrolled at Nassau Community College and worked part-time as a shoe store clerk. He continued to perform in local clubs, and eventually worked his way into such New York City venues as the Comic Strip, billing himself as a disciple of the great comedian Richard Pryor.
Although his raunchy, profanity-ridden routines resembled his idol's, Murphy stayed away from drinking, smoking, and drugs, and would later declare to Barbara Walters, "I don't have to sniff cocaine to make me funny."When Murphy learned that the producers of NBC's popular late night comedy show, Saturday Night Live, were seeking a black cast member for the 1980-81 season, he jumped on the opportunity. He auditioned for the part six times, and finally earned a place as an extra on the show. He appeared sporadically throughout the season, until one fateful night when producers realized they had four minutes of airtime remaining and no material. They pushed Murphy before the camera, and told him to do his stand-up routine. His improvised performance was called "masterful" by Rolling Stone, and Murphy became one of only two cast members (along with Joe Piscopo) asked back for the next season.
Murphy became Saturday Night Live's strongest comedic presence, creating such memorable characters as Mister Robinson, an urban version of TV's Mister Rogers; an older version of the Little Rascals character, Buck wheat; and an illiterate convict and poet named Tyrone Green.
He also continued his skillful impersonations, adding Bill Cosby, Muhammad Ali, James Brown, Jerry Lewis, and Stevie Wonder to his repertoire.
Murphy received criticism for his satirical characterizations based on black stereotypes. He defended his performances, claiming that his characters were far too absurd and abstract to be taken seriously.

On the Big Screen

In 1982, Murphy received a Grammy nomination for a live album of fresh stand-up material called Eddie Murphy: Comedian. The album eventually went gold. That same year, at the age of 21, he also landed his first major motion picture role alongside Nick Nolte in 48 Hours (1982).
He approached the role with confidence and ingenuity, convincing director Walter Hill to adjust some of the dialogue to more genuinely depict a black speaker. His charming and inspired performance as the fast-talking convict stole the film, and 48 Hours grossed over $5 million in its first week.
Murphy followed this success with the 1930s style farce Trading Places (1983). Playing alongside fellow SNLalumnus Dan Aykroyd, Murphy's street-wise Billy Ray Valentine becomes the victim, then the victor, of two Wall Street moguls' short-sighted bet. Paramount Pictures proceeded to sign the 23-year-old to a $25 million contract for six pictures. Murphy's next film, Beverly Hills Cop (1984), hit No. 9 on the list of all-time box-office hits. He played bad boy/good cop Axel Foley, a role originally slated for Sylvester Stallone. His performance was a hit with fans, and earned the actor a Golden Globe nomination. Taking advantage of his status as a hot commodity, Murphy released his first album How Could it Be?, which was produced by music legend Rick James. The first single off the album, "Party All the Time," peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Murphy went on the make Beverly Hills Cop II in 1987, which received mixed reviews from critics, but major rewards from the box office. His other efforts of this period—including The Golden Child (1986) and his directorial debut, Harlem Nights (1989)—were deemed failures by critics and audiences alike.

A highlight of his career during this time was the romantic comedy Coming to America (1988), co-starring Arsenio Hall. In the film, both Murphy and Hall were able to demonstrate their comedic versatilty by playing multiple characters within the film. Audiences loved Murphy's performances and the movie became a box-office smash, grossing more than $128 million in the U.S. alone.

Prostitution Incident

In 1990, Murphy starred in a sequel to his popular film, 48 Hours called Another 48 Hours. The second film did not perform to the same standards as the first, and Murphy decided to take a break from the Hollywood scene. He returned in 1992 as a smooth, impeccably dressed bachelor in the film Boomerang, co-starring Halle Berry. The film met mixed reviews, but many critics found Murphy's performance as a romantic lead a step in the right direction. He followed the success of the film with Beverly Hills Cop III (1994) and Vampire in Brooklyn (1995), both low performers at the box office.

In 1996, Murphy rediscovered his love for over-the-top comedic invention in a hit remake of the Jerry Lewis film The Nutty Professor. Murphy earned a Golden Globe nomination and an Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Award for his role in the film.

In May of 1997, Murphy earned some unfortunate publicity when he was discovered by L.A. police with a transsexual prostitute. He claimed he was merely trying to give the prostitute a ride. The incident made him the target of jokes nonetheless.

Continued Success

Despite the scandal in his personal life, Murphy went on to feature in a variety of family films. He played the voice of Mushu the Lizard in Disney's animated picture Mulan (1998) to enormous critical praise, and starred in the family film, Doctor Doolittle (1998). In 1999, Murphy starred in the comedy Bowfinger, co-starring Steve Martin, who also wrote the screenplay. Nutty Professor II: The Klumps was released in the summer of 2000, with Murphy featured as all six lead characters. He also voiced the lead character, superintendent Thurgood Stubbs, on The PJs, an animated TV show for which he also serves as executive producer.

In the summer of 2001, Murphy had two more big box-office successes, starring in Dr. Doolittle 2 and lending his voice to the character of Donkey in the animated feature Shrek, also featuring the voices of Mike Myers and Cameron Diaz. In 2003, Murphy starred in yet another family comedy, this time as an overwhelmed babysitter in Daddy Day Care. The following year, he revived Donkey for the hit sequel Shrek 2. In 2006, Murphy signed on for what was arguably his most demanding film to date, a screen adaptation of the Broadway musical Dream girls, featuring Jennifer Hudson. His performance as soul singer James "Thunder" Early earned him a Golden Globe award and an Academy Award nomination. In 2007, Murphy appeared in Norbit and Shrek the Third.

Personal Life

In January of 2008, Murphy announced his split with film producer Tracey Edmonds. The couple married in French Polynesia on New Year's Day of that year in front of 25 family members and friends. When it turned out that the celebration was not legally binding, Murphy and his new wife planned to renew their vows on American soil. The second ceremony never took place, however, and the couple officially separated.

Murphy continues to work as an actor and comedian. His film Tower Heist is slated to be released later this year.

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