Could Eddie Murphy have made the transition from Beverly Hills Cop to suave British spy? Back in April 1994, the bookies had him as a leading contender to take on the mantle of James Bond.
Timothy Dalton had decided to step down as the iconic misogynist after just two films. A media frenzy ensued over who might take over.
Murphy's star was riding high, with the third installment of his Beverly Hills Cop series due to hit cinemas in May. (It would ultimately flop, and receive harsh reviews.) After Dalton resigned from the Bond franchise some thought that Murphy might be offered the tuxedo.
Bookmakers William Hill offered odds of 20-1 on the US star. "The idea of a black Bond seems to be catching on," said a spokesman for the betting firm, who also offered 20-1 odds on Denzel Washington. Lenny Henry was an outsider at 25-1.
The idea of a first female 007 was also entertained. William Hill offered odds of 50-1 on Emma Thompson, and 100-1 on Sharon Stone.
The bookies' favourite was Pierce Brosnan at 2-1, with Nigel Havers at 10-1. Brosnan would, of course, go on to play the role in four films, beginning with GoldenEye in 1995. Murphy's later career took a somewhat different direction, with starring roles in The Nutty Professor and as a (much loved) talking donkey in the Shrek films.
Betting odds taken from the Newcastle Journal, 14 April 1994. Found in the British Newspaper Archive.