"Dolemite Is My Name" is getting rave reviews with many critics calling it a comeback movie for Eddie Murphy. But none of that would have been possible without Murphy first being introduced to the talents of "Dolemite" creator Rudy Ray Moore by his older brother, Charlie Murphy.
Charlie, who is known best for starring and being a writer for the Comedy Central series, "Chappelle's Show," was such a fan of "Dolemite," the 1975 blaxploitation classic, and its sequels, that he was constantly quoting lines Moore said from the movies to Eddie in their teens. After Eddie became a huge star, he never forgot about Moore's unique profanity-laced one-liners and how it led to "Dolemite" becoming a sensation. Eddie decided he wanted to make a movie about Moore, and though it took over a decade to happen, "Dolemite Is My Name" is the fruits of that labor.
Directed by Craig Brewer ("Hustle and Flow"), the movie (available on Netflix beginning Friday) is a look at the down-and-out life of Rudy Ray Moore (played by Eddie Murphy) and how he got "Dolemite" to the screen despite having never made a movie before. Alongside Murphy is a talented ensemble that includes Wesley Snipes, Snoop Dogg, Mike Epps, Keegan-Michael Key, Craig Robinson, and Tituss Burgess.
Sadly, Charlie isn't in the movie. He died from leukemia in 2017 before filming began.
But Brewer still wanted to recognize Charlie, so he asked Eddie if he could dedicate the movie to his older brother.
"I usually always dedicate my movies to someone, so I went to Eddie and said the first time I ever heard Charlie Murphy was in an interview on the radio where he did the whole act of 'Signifying Monkey,'" Brewer told Business Insider, referring to the famous comedic speech Moore gives in "Dolemite." "He had recently passed and so when Eddie and I started talking about that, it seemed like the natural thing to do was dedicate the movie to Charlie because Charlie introduced Eddie to Rudy Ray Moore's world."
Most of Charlie's career in show business was overshadowed by the stardom of his younger brother, though later in his life, he found acclaim starring on "Chappelle's Show" — most notably recounting his experiences of 1980s Hollywood with the likes of Prince and Rick James.
"He may not have been as famous as Eddie, but he was a really talented and funny cat," Brewer said. "He just seemed like the right person to pay homage to at the end of the movie."