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Eddie Murphy relishes laughter, cherishes family time

You hear the unmistakable laugh before you see the man. Eddie Murphy’s deep, joyous chuckle could qualify as its own special effect.

The laugh has been described as a cross between a happy goose and a stopped-up vacuum cleaner. “I went through a period when I didn’t laugh like that anymore — it didn’t come out,” he says. “But it’s back.”

Why not? The 62-year-old Murphy, with Burl Ives Christmas tunes playing in the background, says that he’s in full holiday mode.

“Christmas for me means going all out — I’ve got 10 kids — and all the family is at the table,” he shares. “I like nothing more than a house full of the people I love. That’s my favorite thing about Christmas. The best dish is family.”

The original bad boy of comedy and star of “Beverly Hills Cop,” “48 Hours” and “Trading Places” might gather his family around the TV to watch his new Prime holiday film, “Candy Cane Lane.” He plays a devoted husband and father who is desperate to win his neighborhood’s holiday decorating contest. He makes a deal with a mischievous elf that brings the “12 Days of Christmas” to life.

Murphy shares his good life tips and what brings him joy, anytime of year:

Don’t change

“I’ve been in this business for almost five decades, but I’m not sure if I’ve grown up,” he says. “I was 15 when I started, and I still feel the same joy from doing the work. Making me laugh gives me all the joy.”

Christmas presence

Murphy says that the idea of making a holiday movie has long appealed to him. “I’ve always loved watching a Christmas movie,” says Murphy, who grew up on Long Island. “Give me ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ or ‘Elf.’ I watch the same ones every year. … I love those kinds of traditions. I wanted ‘Candy Cane Lane’ to be one of those movies that families could revisit.”

He mentions that he has other holiday films, though not the traditional kind. “‘Trading Places’ and ‘Coming to America’ have Christmas in them. … And in ‘Delirious,’ I do wear a big red suit,” he jokes. “You could say I’ve always been suggesting holiday films throughout my work.”

Find a good partner

Murphy says he enjoyed working with Tracee Ellis Ross, who portrays his wife in “Candy Cane Lane.” He says finding a good partner is the key to enjoying your work. “She’s game and she’s a good actress. She likes to improvise and always tries to make the scene better,” Murphy says. “I like people who make the scene real.”

Take a chance

“You need to be fearless in life. If you don’t take a chance, nothing will happen. I took a chance on me when I did stand-up for the first time. I was petrified, but you push past your fears. What’s waiting on the other side could change your life. It did for me.”

Stunts and bruises

Murphy will star next year in the fourth installment in the “Beverly Hills Cop” movie series: “Axel Foley.” “I did the first ‘Beverly Hills Cop’ when I was 21 — and I’m not 21 anymore,” he says. “I’m running, jumping and doing stunts. I heard, ‘Eddie, can you run with more urgency.’ And I said, ‘No, I can’t!’ … I know Tom Cruise likes to do physical stunts. I like to be on the couch instead.”

Yes, there were a few bumps and bruises. “I ended up with my back messed up and in a knee brace, but the movie is special,” he adds. “I finally said, “Aging is a state of mind, but don’t ask me to do stuff Morgan Freeman can’t do.”

His legacy

Murphy is father to 10 — two children he shares with fiancée Paige Butcher and eight from previous relationships — in what he calls “a beautiful, blended family.” He also has a baby granddaughter named Evie. “It’s all love all the way around and everyone gets along. It’s a lovefest at my house,” he says. “My kids are great, normal people. They’re smart adults, which makes me happy. My legacy isn’t movies. It’s these amazing human beings that I helped bring into the world.”

Don’t waste time

“The life advice I’d give most people is not to waste time,” Murphy says. “Most of us get about 75 years if we’re lucky. That’s 75 winters, 75 summers, 75 autumns. Don’t waste any of it. Think about what’s important for you to do during that time and then do it. Try to focus on what you want to do and then work towards doing it.”

Don’t lose your laugh

“People always thought my laugh was funny, but then it did get weird. People would come up and say, ‘Do that signature Eddie Murphy laugh.’ As I’ve gotten older, it just comes out naturally because I’m happy.”

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