Sometime between the mess of Beverly Hills Cop III and the disaster that Beverly Hills Cop IV threatens to be, Eddie Murphy somehow became one of America's favorite movie dads. Once the world's funniest foul-mouthed comedian, Murphy has done a 180 on screen, with his biggest hits squarely aimed at family audiences and wallets. • Kids love it and parents play along, although Murphy's personal life hasn't been the sort you'd seek in a father figure. Or have you forgotten these incidents hurting Murphy's chances to be named Father of the Year?
Dream . . . girl?
In 1997, Murphy's car was stopped by police in a Santa Monica neighborhood known for gay sex trade. In his company was Antisone Seiuli, a transvestite prostitute. Murphy claimed he couldn't sleep and was driving to buy a magazine at 4 a.m. When he saw Seiuli on a street corner, he simply offered her a ride home. Murphy told People magazine that it was "an act of kindness that got turned into a . . . horror show." No charges were filed.
Who's Your Daddy Day Care
Murphy was all lovey-dovey in 2007 with former pop music star Melanie "Scary Spice" Brown, left, until she turned up pregnant. Then he broke off the relationship and for months publicly denied fathering the child. Threats of a lawsuit from Brown's bulldog attorney Gloria Allred forced Murphy to finally admit paternity, although he denied Brown's other claim of failing to live up to his financial responsibilities.
The haunted man, shunned
Murphy and movie producer Tracey Edmonds exchanged ceremonial vows in Bora Bora on New Year's Day 2008. When the honeymoon ended after two weeks, so did the "marriage." The only people happy about the situation were probably Murphy's first, jilted wife, Nicole, and Scary Spice.
At the 2008 Academy Awards, Murphy was favored to win the best supporting actor Oscar for his performance in Dreamgirls, after playing all of the Hollywood goodwill games. When the envelope was opened, Alan Arkin, above, was the winner, for Little Miss Sunshine. Murphy pulled a Lebron James by leaving the auditorium in a huff, without any comment. His representatives later said Murphy would've left that way if he had won. R-i-i-i-i-ght.
Steve Persall, Times film critic