Comedian Eddie Murphy, known for his roles in films like “Beverly Hills Cop” and “Trading Places,” will be honored by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor this year.
Murphy will be the 18th humorist to receive the honor, adding him to an elite list of men and women, such as Carol Burnett, Bill Cosby, Richard Pryor, Ellen DeGeneres, George Carlin, Whoopi Goldberg and Billy Crystal. Murphy is the fourth African-American to be honored.
“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 said on the website.
“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 President Deborah Rutter said in a public statement.
The Kennedy Center called the 54-year-old Murphy “the most commercially successful African-American actor in the history of the motion picture business.” Murphy’s career on Saturday Night Live and his performance in Beverly Hills Cop is enough to secure a place in comedic history for the star, but his career continued to flourish for many more years.