Career Resurrection: In The Nutty Professor. Murphy was one of the biggest comedy stars of The Eighties, but as time went on, films like The Golden Child and Beverly Hills Cop III tainted his reputation with critics. He might have gone down as something of a relic of the Eighties if not for his multiple-role performance in the Professor remake, which was a huge hit. He has a Rated G for Gangsta reputation now (due to doing many family films, most famously the Shrek franchise), but he was still an A-lister for much of the '00s, even receiving an Oscar nomination for Dreamgirls. Unfortunately, in the late '00s he suffered from another string of financial movie flops. But in the early 10's many people taught he was going to make a comeback with his new comedy Tower Heist and with him hosting the Oscars. Tower Heist was a hit but he didn't host the Oscars and A Thousand Words put him on a slump again.
What Could Have Been: The role of Winston Zeddemore in Ghostbusters was originally written with him in mind. Murphy says he's kicked himself in hindsight for refusing the role, feeling at the time it would be a flop.
Eddie Murphy originally wasn't supposed to be a cast member on Saturday Night Live in the early 1980s. When Jean Doumanian was gathering her cast, she had another token black cast member in mind (Robert Townsend, after failing to get comedian and street performer Charlie Barnett, who, despite being talented enough for TV, was a barely-literate high school dropout), but an SNL writer at the time named Neil Levy and Eddie Murphy's agent urged Doumanian to give him a chance. Murphy was let on the show after Robert Townsend forgot (or refused) to sign his cast member contract, and even then, Eddie Murphy was relegated to background roles (even though he was a feature player along with Patrick Weathers, Yvonne Hudson, and Matthew Laurence) and fought hard to be more prominent on the show for two reasons: 1) he didn't want to be like Garrett Morris from the original cast who, despite his talent, was put in roles that most people would find offensive, and 2) the sketches the show already had were boring and humorless. When Doumanian was running out of material for the episode hosted by Ray Sharkey, Eddie Murphy stepped in and did a stand-up bit about black people fighting and was promoted to repertory player on the next episode (hosted by Karen Black).
He was also going to be a central character in Star Trek IV as a conspiracy nut radio personality who believed in aliens. The role would have essentially served the same purpose that Dr. Gillian Taylor did in the completed film.
His role in Beverly Hills Cop was originally meant for Sylvester Stallone when the film was initially pitched as a more serious action thriller.