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The prodigious musical talent and original artist Prince passed away exactly seven years ago today in his suburban Minneapolis home. There’s no doubt that the pop star’s multitude of fans across the globe are celebrating his life by listening to songs such as Purple Rain, 1999 and When Doves Cry. But an integral part of Prince’s success can be attributed to his acting career, which was achieved when Prince starred in the 1984 major motion picture Purple Rain. The film was loosely based on his own life, and featured a soundtrack of his iconic studio album of the same name.

In the 80’s, Prince was known for his fresh, original songs as well as his charismatic and flamboyant stage performances; so, when he came forward as a first-time actor many people were skeptical that he’d now be playing the film’s lead. Portraying the brilliant musician and songwriter known as The Kid, Prince unabashedly and unapologetically took the creative risk of pretty much playing himself. He would go on to win an Academy Award for Best Original Song Score, and the film went on to rank number one in the United States.

Building on this momentum, Prince went on to both direct and star in his second film, Under the Cherry Moon. Again, the movie featured Prince’s music, this time from his Parade album. And although the album went platinum, the movie didn’t go over well with audiences, and Under the Cherry Moon was a box office flop. It went on to receive Golden Raspberry Awards for Worst Picture, Worst Director, Worst Actor, and Worst Original Song to boot.

In 1990, Prince returned as The Kid in the Purple Rain sequel, Graffiti Bridge. The movie was written and directed by Prince, and this would be his final film role. Unfortunately, Graffiti Bridge was ill-received by both critics and audiences.

Seven years later, when referred to as The Artist Formerly Known as Prince, he appeared to have fun portraying himself in a series of Hee Haw-inspired skits on an episode of Muppets Tonight.

And in his final acting role, Prince played himself in a New Girl episode with Zooey Deschanel in 2014. The special, entitled “Prince,” aired after the Super Bowl that year. In the Season 3 episode, Jess (Deschanel) and her best friend Cece (Hannah Simone) are invited to a party hosted by Prince when Jess’ boyfriend Nick (Jake Johnson) spontaneously tells her he loves her for the first time. Meanwhile, things get awkward at the party when Nick decides to crash it, causing Prince to step in and help Jess out.

Although Prince experienced his share of cinematic success and failures, it’s hard to overestimate his impact on the big and small screens. Rest in peace, Prince.

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