December 22, 2009

The Life and Death of Britanny Murphy

Brittany Murphy (November 10, 1977 – December 20, 2009) was an American actress and singer. She starred in films such as Clueless, Girl, Interrupted, 8 Mile, Uptown Girls, Sin City, Happy Feet, and Riding in Cars with Boys. She also voiced Luanne Platter on the animated TV series King of the Hill.

Actress Brittany Murphy was found dead on Sunday, December 20th (2009) as TMZ and other media outlets have confirmed. The 'Clueless' and 'Girl, Interrupted' actress went into full cardiac arrest, and paramedics were unable to revive her. She was pronounced dead upon arrival at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

The 911 call reporting the incident was made from the home of Simon Monjack, whom Murphy married in 2007. RadarOnline is reporting that Monjack himself made the phone call, and that the Los Angeles Coroner's office is launching an investigation into Murphy's death. The police "could not say whether it would point to any criminal conduct," Los Angeles Times sources say.

 According to TMZ, Murphy's mom found the actress in the shower and paramedics administered CPR at the home and on the way to the hospital. Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Devon Gale tells the Associated Press that the call was made at 8 a.m. on Sunday, and that one person was transported to a hospital.

Britanny Murphy's publicist, Nicole Perna, released a statement on Sunday saying: "In this time of sadness, the family thanks you for your love and support. It is their wish that you respect their privacy."

Murphy made her big splash in Hollywood in 1995's 'Clueless,' in which she played the ditzy character Tai. She went on to co-star in popular films like 'Girl, Interrupted' with Angelina Jolie and '8 Mile,' where she played Eminem's love interest. She was also the voice of Luanne Platter for more than 230 episodes of the popular Fox cartoon sitcom 'King of the Hill.'

Aside from acting, Britanny Murphy also dabbled in music occasionally. In 2006, she scored a hit by pairing up with DJ Paul Oakenfold on the song 'Faster Kill Pussycat,' which became a club staple. She also covered two songs -- including Queen's 'Somebody to Love' -- in the animated movie 'Happy Feet.'

Ashton Kutcher, who shared the screen with Murphy in 2003's 'Just Married' and also dated her, spoke out on his Twitter to remember his friend. "See you on the other side kid ... 2day the world lost a little piece of sunshine. My deepest condolences go out 2 Brittany's family, her husband, & her amazing mother Sharon," Kutcher wrote.

Early life

Brittany Murphy was born in Atlanta, Georgia, on November 10, 1977. Her parents, Sharon Murphy and Angelo Bertolotti, divorced when she was two years old, and Murphy was raised by her mother in Edison, New Jersey, and later in Los Angeles, where they moved so Murphy could pursue an acting career. Murphy said her mother never tried to stifle her creativity, and she considered her mother a crucial factor in her later success: "When I asked my mom to move to California, she sold everything and moved out here for me. ... She always believed in me." Murphy's mother is of Irish and Eastern European descent and her father is Italian American. Murpy's father, a suspected mobster, has had numerous federal indictments and convictions stemming from the possession and distribution of narcotics. She was raised a Baptist and later became a non-denominational Christian.

Murphy landed her first job in Hollywood when she was age 14, starring as Brenda Drexell in the series Drexell's Class. She then went on to play Molly Morgan in the short-lived The Torkelsons spinoff Almost Home. Murphy also guest-starred on several television series, including Parker Lewis Can't Lose, Blossom and Frasier. She also had recurring roles on Sister, Sister; Party of Five and Boy Meets World. In 1997, she began voicing the character of Luanne Platter (as well as the younger version of Joseph Gribble) on the long-running animated series King of the Hill.

Britney Murphy starred in several films, including Clueless (1995); Girl, Interrupted (1999); Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999); Don't Say a Word (2001); the TV adaption of the novel The Devil's Arithmetic (2001); 8 Mile (2002) and Uptown Girls (2003) as well as many lesser-known films, such as Spun (2003). In 2004, she starred in the romantic comedy Little Black Book, and the critically acclaimed Sin City (2005). She starred in two Edward Burns films: Sidewalks of New York (2001) and The Groomsmen (2006). In 2009, she was cast in the Lifetime TV movie, Tribute, as the main character, Cilla. She was set to appear in the Sylvester Stallone film, The Expendables, which will be released in 2010.

Murphy was also a voice actor. She voiced the character Luanne Platter on the FOX animated sitcom King of the Hill for the entirety of the show's run. She also provided the voice for Gloria the penguin in the 2006 feature Happy Feet. She was nominated for an Annie Award for voice acting in the King of the Hill episode "Movin' On Up".

Music and modeling

She was in a band called Blessed Soul with fellow actor Eric Balfour in the early 1990s. On June 6, 2006, Murphy and Paul Oakenfold released the single "Faster Kill Pussycat", from the album A Lively Mind. The song became a club hit, and hit number one on Billboard's Hot Dance Club Play chart. It also hit number seven in the UK singles chart in June 2006.

She dabbled in music again with the release of the film Happy Feet, in which she covered Queen's "Somebody to Love" and Earth, Wind & Fire's "Boogie Wonderland".

Murphy starred in Wheatus' video "A Little Respect" alongside actor Shawn Hatosy. She has also appeared in the music video for Luscious Jackson's "Here" and Tears for Fears' "Closest Thing to Heaven".

In 2005, Murphy signed as the spokesmodel for Jordache jeans.

Personal life
In late 2002, Murphy began dating Ashton Kutcher, her co-star in Just Married. Once engaged to talent manager Jeff Kwatinetz, Murphy became engaged to Joe Macaluso in December 2005, a production assistant she met while working on the film Little Black Book. In August 2006, they ended their engagement. In May 2007, Murphy married British screenwriter Simon Monjack in a private Jewish ceremony.

Murphy was a Type-2 diabetic, and suffered from a thyroid condition.


At 8:00 a.m. (16:00 UTC) on December 20, 2009, the Los Angeles Fire Department responded to "a medical request" at the Los Angeles home Murphy and Monjack shared. She had apparently collapsed in a bathroom. Firefighters attempted to resuscitate Murphy on the scene, and she was subsequently transported to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead on arrival at 10:04 a.m. after going into cardiac arrest. Cause of death is yet to be determined, but Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter told the Associated Press: "It appears to be natural." An autopsy was performed on December 21, 2009. Full results will not be available for several weeks; experts are looking into her medical records and toxicology reports.

Following the news of her passing, Ashton Kutcher, who dated Murphy in the past, showed grief. She was also a trending topic on Twitter, as many users included "RIP Brittany Murphy" in their Tweets. The following day, her husband Simon spoke to Access Hollywood, claiming that "my world was destroyed". Later on, Adult Swim paid a tribute to Murphy by airing a silent bumper that read her name and the year of her birth and death.

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