10 actors and actresses back from the brink
A look at bottomed-out A-listers who successfully re-ignited their careers
Early Success: In the early '80s, Murphy turned his acclaimed stand-up act and "SNL" experience into a string of edgy hit films, most prominently "48 Hrs.," "Trading Places," "Beverly Hills Cop," and "Coming to America."
The Brink: After scoring with 1996's "The Nutty Professor," Murphy was dogged by tabloid run-ins and late '90s failures like "Metro," "Vampire in Brooklyn" and "Life." The new millennium likewise brought a slew of poor starring choices, notably "Daddy Day Care," "I Spy," "Haunted Mansion" and the notorious "Adventures of Pluto Nash." He kept relevant through his wildly successful voiceover work in the "Shrek" films, but his live-action career seemed beyond salvage.
The Comeback: Finally stepping outside of his comfort zone, Murphy was deservedly nominated for an Oscar for the 2006 musical "Dreamgirls," and appeared to be on a new career path.
Did it take? Not really. After Oscar night, Murphy immediately returned to safe family-friendly fare like "Meet Dave," "Imagine That" and "A Thousand Words" -- all box office flops. 2011's uninspired "Tower Heist" was a stab at returning to R-rated comedy fare, but failed to catch on.