Brittany Murphy

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Brittany Murphy
Murphy in 2006
Born
Brittany Anne Bertolotti[1]

(1977-11-10)November 10, 1977
DiedDecember 20, 2009(2009-12-20) (aged 32)
Cause of deathPneumonia, anemia, and combined legal drug intoxication
Resting placeForest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills, California
34°08′39″N 118°19′11″W / 34.14414°N 118.31979°W / 34.14414; -118.31979
EducationJohn Burroughs High School, Verne Fowler's School of Dance and Theater
Occupations
  • Actress
  • singer
Years active1991–2009
Spouse
(m. 2007)
Musical career
Genres
Instrument(s)

Brittany Anne Murphy-Monjack[6] (née Bertolotti; November 10, 1977 – December 20, 2009) was an American actress and singer, known for her equal proficiency in comedy and drama.[7][8][9][10]

Born in Atlanta, Murphy moved to Los Angeles as a teenager to pursue a career in acting. Her breakthrough came when she co-starred as Tai Frasier in Clueless (1995), followed by independent films such as Freeway (1996), and her 1997 Broadway debut in a production of Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge. She finished the decade with supporting roles in Girl, Interrupted and Drop Dead Gorgeous (both 1999).

Murphy gained critical recognition for her roles in numerous high-profile film projects during the early 2000s, such as Don't Say a Word (2001), Riding in Cars with Boys (2001), and 8 Mile (2002). Other notable credits included Cherry Falls (2000), Spun (2002), Just Married, Uptown Girls (both 2003), Little Black Book (2004), Sin City (2005), and Happy Feet (2006). She also voiced Luanne Platter on Fox's King of the Hill for the entirety of its run (1997–2010).

On December 20, 2009, Murphy died at age 32 under disputed circumstances.[11] The coroner's verdict was pneumonia, exacerbated by anemia.[12]

Biography

1977–1991: early years

Brittany Anne Bertolotti[13] was born at Georgia Baptist Hospital in Atlanta,[14][15][16] to Sharon Kathleen Murphy[6] and Angelo Joseph Bertolotti,[17] who divorced when she was three years old.[18] Murphy was raised by her mother in Edison, New Jersey.[18][15][19][A] Angelo during this period was arrested on charges of drug possession, spending twelve years in prison;[15] and he had dealings with the Italian mafia, where he operated as an entrepreneur and diplomat for organized crime families.[14] She later stated that due to Sharon's financial problems,[18] she was forced to eat spaghetti every night. She also said that, on certain occasions, she had to beg her mother to buy clothes at Kmart. This would later explain Murphy's marked social investment in homeless causes, as discussed in a February 2003 Glamour article.[20]

In 1991, before she started high school, the family moved to Los Angeles so that Murphy could pursue an acting career.[21][22][23] 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."[16] Murphy's mother is of Irish and Slovakian descent, and her father is of Italian.[24][25] She was raised a Baptist and later became a non-denominational Christian.[26][27] She had two older half-brothers and a younger half-sister.[28]

1991–1999: child acting and first roles

In 1982, she attended the Verne Fowler School of Dance and Theater Arts in Colonia, New Jersey.[29][30] From the age of four, she trained in singing, dancing and acting until she moved to California at thirteen.[15][31] In 1987, at the age of ten, she made her theatrical debut called Really Rosie,[29] whose performance was praised by her teachers;[15] and she also sang in a production of Les Misérables.[29] She stood out for being energetic when acting. She went so far as to say that "my first memories were wanting... to entertain people."[32] She debuted in 1991 playing the role of Frank's sister on the television show Murphy Brown, however, she appeared in only one episode.[33] She later got her first job in Hollywood at the age of thirteen, playing the role of Brenda Drexell in the series Drexell's Class.[33][34] She then went on to play Molly Morgan in the TV series Almost Home.[35] She appeared as a guest star on several television series, including Parker Lewis Can't Lose, Blossom, seaQuest 2032, Murder One and Frasier.[34] She had recurring roles on Party of Five, Boy Meets World and Sister, Sister.[34]

Her breakthrough role was in her second feature film, the teen comedy Clueless (1995), directed by Amy Heckerling, which developed a cult following.[36] Filming began in November 1994, at which time she was barely seventeen years old, making her the youngest member of the cast.[37] Her performance in the film was praised by both the media and critics:[38] John Menter, an acting teacher during Murphy's childhood, said: "It wasn't until I saw her, sitting in the theater, who I felt she would be a huge star."[38] During filming, as she could not attend high school, she had educational tutors.[39] The film was a sleeper hit, grossing US$56 million against its budget of US$12 million.[40][41] Clueless is a loose adaptation of the novel Emma (1815) by Jane Austen, and many of its characters have counterparts in the novel.[42][43][44] Soon after, her mother Sharon was diagnosed with breast cancer, whom she was forced to take care of after the release of Clueless.[45][46]

She made her Broadway debut in 1997 playing the role of Catherine, in a new version of Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge along with actors Anthony LaPaglia and Allison Janney.[47][48] She continued with roles in Freeway (1996), with Reese Witherspoon and Kiefer Sutherland,[20] and the independent comedy Bongwater (1998).[49] In 1999, she appeared as Rivkah in the television film The Devil's Arithmetic, based on the novel of the same name by Jane Yolen and directed by Donna Deitch; filming took place in Lithuania and Canada in October 1998.[50] Her performance was praised by Variety reviewer David Kronke, stating that she "brought a strange but intriguing ethereal quality to her performance."[50] That same year she had a supporting role in James Mangold's Girl, Interrupted, as a troubled psychiatric patient alongside Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie.[20] She was nominated at the Young Artists Awards for Best Young Lead Actress in a Feature Film for Girl, Interrupted, on March 19, 2000.[51] She later starred as an aspiring beauty queen in Drop Dead Gorgeous.[20] She voiced the character of Luanne Platter in the Fox animated sitcom King of the Hill for the entirety of the show from 1997 to 2009, and Joseph Gribble until the fifth season.[52] She later said that she enjoyed doing voice-overs because they could be done at home, jokingly saying: "You can do it even in your pajamas."[34] She was nominated for an Annie Award for voice acting for the King of the Hill episode "Movin' On Up" in 2000.[53]

2000–2009: acting success, decline and final works

Murphy at the Australian premiere of Happy Feet in December 2006

She began the 2000s playing certain roles, with Jody Marken in the thriller Cherry Falls (2000),[54] and the lead role in Don't Say a Word (2001) alongside Michael Douglas,[55] whose critical reception was negative, but his performance was praised.[56] In 2002, she played the role of Alex Latourno in the film based on the life of American rapper Eminem, 8 Mile, which received critical acclaim,[57] and was a success at the box office.[58]

She appeared alongside Dakota Fanning in Uptown Girls (2003), playing Molly Gunn, a twenty-two-year-old girl whose deceased father was a musician.[59][B] Filming lasted from July to September 2002, and was filmed at Silvercup Studios located in New York.[60] That same year she starred in the romantic comedy Just Married. The film did well at the box office, grossing more than 100 million dollars, against a budget of 18 million,[61] but it received negative reviews from both the press and film critics, which led to them appearing as nominees in the Razzie Awards for worst actor, worst supporting actress and worst on-screen couple for both.[62] At that time her mother contracted breast cancer again, so she had to take care of her again.[46] A year later she gave the Stacy Holt's role in Little Black Book (2004), which was another critical failure, where reviewers focused on Murphy's poor performance.[63] The film opened at number five at the North American box office, grossing US$7,075,217 in its opening weekend behind Collateral, The Village, The Bourne Supremacy and The Manchurian Candidate.[64] The film finished its run with a domestic total of US$20,698,668 and an international addition of US$1,336,164, totaling US$22,034,832 worldwide.[65] In 2005 she appeared in Sin City, directed by Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller and Quentin Tarantino.[66] Film critic Roger Ebert frequently praised Murphy's acting talent and comic timing, giving good reviews to several of her films and comparing her to Lucille Ball:[67]

As for Brittany Murphy, for me, it goes back to the 2003 Independent Spirit Awards [where] Murphy was assigned to present one of the awards. Her task was to read the names of the five nominees, open an envelope, and reveal the name of the winner. This she turned into an opportunity for screwball improvisational comedy, by pretending she could not follow this sequence, not even after the audience shouted instructions and the stage manager came to whisper in her ear not once but twice. There were those in the audience who were dumbfounded by her stupidity. I was dumbfounded by her brilliance.[68]

Murphy followed with several independent films, including as Spun (2002), Neverwas (2005), and Karen Moncrieff's The Dead Girl (2006), as well as two Edward Burns films: Sidewalks of New York (2001) and The Groomsmen (2006). She returned to voice acting with the critically acclaimed 2006 animated feature Happy Feet, as Gloria Penguin. In 2009, she was cast in the Lifetime TV movie Tribute, as the main character, Cilla. Murphy completed the thriller/drama Abandoned in June 2009 and it was released in 2010, after her death.[69] In November 2009, Murphy left the production of The Caller, which was being filmed in Puerto Rico, and was replaced by Rachelle Lefevre. Murphy denied media reports that she had been fired from the project after being difficult on set, and cited "creative differences".[70] Something Wicked, her final film, was released in 2014.[71]

Music career

Murphy performing for the crew during a USO show aboard USS Nimitz on June 19, 2003

Murphy's career also included work as a singer. She was able to learn to play an instrument in just twenty minutes of practice, and learned to play the piano and trumpet at an early age.[5] Regarding her voice, she commented: "My singing voice isn't like my speaking voice...I've just always kept it a secret and never taken credit because I wanted to learn how to work behind the microphone in a recording studio, and some of the singers don't even know it was me recording on their albums."[72] In an interview she stated that her main musical influence was the American singer Madonna: "My dreams and aspirations when I was a child for as long as I can remember was to be an entertainer. I started out in dance classes and I've always sang for as long as I can remember. When I was nine I started doing musical theater in the New Jersey area, where I'm from. The quickest way to entertain more people was to audition for commercials and that was the first thing available since it was right over the Hudson River. Madonna had a quote, 'I'm going to change the world'–that was a huge inspiration to me so I decided I was going to be my own version of Madonna when I grew up".[72][73] Plans to release a studio album were not carried out.[74] She recorded unreleased demos that were never officially released, the song "Boomlay" was leaked on the Internet, it never completed and part of the recording was lost.[75]

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.[76] It also hit number seven in Oakenfold's native United Kingdom in June 2006.[77]

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 said about her character, Gloria, "Oddly enough, of all the characters I've played, Gloria is the most like me. And she's a penguin! George Miller always wanted one person to do both [the speaking and the singing]. I said, 'I can sing,' and I asked him to give me a shot. I don't think he took me very seriously, because most actors say they can do most things."[72]

After her death, theories were speculated as to whether Murphy really planned to start his musical career as a solo artist. A source from E! Online stated: "This is obviously not a Michael Jackson thing, but people are definitely interested in Brittany and her story. Depending on what she has recorded and the kind of quality she has, she might end up having one or two hit songs".[78]

Personal life

Relationships and friendships

Kutcher, Kwatinetz and Macaluso

Actor Ashton Kutcher (photographed in 2010) was the actress's partner from 2002 to 2003

In late 2002, she began dating Ashton Kutcher, whom she met when they starred in Just Married.[79] The director of the production, Shawn Levy, has commented on the relationship saying: "From the minute they met, they were together, they laughed all the time, they made jokes and they looked happy". It was later revealed that they had been engaged, due to both Kutcher and Murphy wearing rings, although it was never officially confirmed.[80] She was engaged to talent manager Jeff Kwatinetz, but their relationship only lasted four months. She was subsequently with Joe Macaluso in December 2005, a production assistant she met while working on the film Little Black Book.[81] Four months after the filming of The Ramen Girl, which was in April 2006, they broke up.[81]

Winona Ryder

In the early 2000s, she was close friends with American actress Winona Ryder, who worked with her in the drama film Girl, Interrupted (1999).[82] For the Los Angeles Times in September 2001, she was more open about her friendship with Ryder, where Murphy revealed that she called Ryder her "definitive mentor".[83] Murphy said, "Before, I didn't know how actors managed to look so pretty. They have stylists, hair and makeup. I look at old photos of the premiere of Clueless and I look like a meatball on top of another meatball".[83] During a television interview, Murphy along with Ryder got into a Mercedes car and kissed mouth to mouth,[83] which led theories that Murphy was a lesbian, something she rejected.[84] For People she remarked: "This was my presentation to the media, the cover of the National Enquirer". She also said that "we just kissed as a joke. I didn't know what to do because [the photographers] were in front of the car and it was either run them over or just stay there. Then I started making faces and suddenly I became Winona Ryder's lesbian lover".[83] After Murphy's death, Ryder revealed to Total Film that she finds it difficult to watch the film after this event: "I can't watch the movie now. Her character commits suicide in the movie, I just can't. I was very close to Brittany, even in the moments before her death".[82]

Eminem

During the filming of 8 Mile (2002) she met the American rapper, singer-songwriter and actor Eminem. After the release of the film, rumors about a possible love relationship between the two of them spread.[85] When she was asked on the Late Show with David Letterman if they had dated, she responded: "Yes, of course" and, laughing, added: "Well, it went. It came and went".[85] Beyond speculation, it was later confirmed that the two had no relationship.[85] In another interview with The Morning Call, she revealed that she was a big fan of Eminem: "I'm a fan of him... I think that he's very misunderstood." "He's brilliant...he's a brilliant guy," she continued. When the interviewer asked if the rapper was nervous during recordings with her, she jokingly replied, "You'd have to ask him. I don't want to appear in some song or something like that. I'm being careful."[86] On another occasion, when asked if they had "something off screen," she responded: "I'll never tell."[C][88]

Eminem later revealed on Vibe that the actress' death affected him greatly and that he was terrified of dying under similar circumstances.[89] He also said that Murphy's death "was crazy. It's crazy because for a while we were close and she was a very good person. It's crazy when you see these cases, not just hers, but all the cases that have happened in Hollywood with people in music, in acting. Famous people. Famous people dying of overdoses at alarming rates and this almost sounds like advertising."[89]

Simon Monjack

"Simon Monjack was a liar, a cheat, a thief, a sociopath, a con-artist and a narcissist, all wrapped up in one ball of dysfunction".

— Mark Ebner in the 2023 documentary Gone Before Her Time: Brittany Murphy[90]

Months after her relationship with Macaluso, she met Simon Monjack, a British screenwriter.[91][92] They met during the filming of The White Hotel, where Murphy played the role of actress and Monjack as director, however, the film was not released and its production was paused.[93][94] In the 2021 documentary What Happened to Brittany Murphy? Several of Monjack's colleagues and friends accused him of being responsible for Murphy's physical changes and also of not letting her connect with her family.[95] According to the testimony of his ex-fiancée, Elizabeth Ragsdale, Monjack "was a disturbed individual who was used to scamming people and Brittany was one of his last victims".[96] In the two-part miniseries, Ragsdale explained that Monjack told her that he suffered from spinal cancer and needed shark cartilage treatments to recover.[96] It was not until he abandoned her while Ragsdale was pregnant that she contacted Monjack's mother, Linda Monjack, and realized that the story was fake.[96] Linda, who was interviewed, defended her son in this regard, saying he had developed extreme paranoia after the death of his own father, William Monjack, from cancer: "I certainly don't think he went out and told people he had cancer. I think he believed it."[97] Before Monjack met Murphy, he was with filmmaker Allison Burnett at a public dinner, where he told the assembled guests that he was a multimillionaire, had dated Elle Macpherson and Madonna, had a collection of Ferraris and was dying of brain cancer until he purchased a treatment derived from shark fins that saved his life; however, these theories were revealed to be lies.[98] As a result of this the media suspected that she had been deceived by a cheat.[99] Actress Kathy Najimy, recalled: "[People] were scared. Like, "Who is this guy and what was happening?",[100] "She wanted to marry him, and I said, “Honey, it hasn't been enough”."[101] Another reporter said that her friends and family tried to split her with Monjack at one point, but her intervention failed.[102] After that it was as if she "disappeared", according to her friend Lisa Rieffel:[103] "Simon took her away. He made sure no one could get to her."[103] The couple did not announce their engagement beforehand and rarely appeared together in public before their marriage.[94] In May 2007 they married in a private Jewish ceremony in Los Angeles in May 2007.[104][105] During the last three and a half years of her life, she, her mother, and Monjack moved in together in the same mansion that Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake had lived in, and she kept much of her old furniture.[1][106]

Health

"You know? Someone very important in Hollywood said that I wasn't "fuckable" enough. He said I was "huggable" but not "fuckable". So I put some extensions in my hair and that made the difference".

—Murphy in 2000, talking about her physical changes for the Interview magazine.[107][108]

In the early 2000s, Murphy lost a large amount of weight,[109][110] which led to rumors of a cocaine addiction or she suffered from bulimia or anorexia.[109][111] In 2005, Murphy disputed such claims to Jane magazine, saying: "No, just for the record I have never tried it in my entire life."[109][111]

She appeared smoking both in movies and in the making-ofs in which she appeared. A Rolling Stone journalist remarked that "she smelled of vanilla and apricots. She had a cigarette in her hand. .... After a while, she pointed out that this was only her third cigarette of the week and that, consequently, 'I don't smoke, and I'm not smoking!' But you are smoking. 'Oh, now', she said, as if only a dullard could think otherwise. ... even though she doesn't smoke and wasn't smoking, she lit her fourth cigarette of the week and began smoking it avidly, passing time in the bathroom until it was yummy time for her again."[112] She had tried to quit her addiction and was against the use of marijuana, appearing in a fifteen-minute anti-smoking campaign for young people about not smoking to more than 10,000 schools as a complement to the educational program "Right Decisions, Right Now".[113] She was also against the consumption of both marijuana and drugs.[114] At the same time, she suffered from type 1 diabetes mellitus.[115]

Actress Melanie Lynskey, one of her friends, expressed her opinion about Murphy's physical changes. For InStyle, she stated: "I was friends with Brittany Murphy, and the way she saw herself always broke my heart: the things she felt she had to change to be a successful actress."[116] "She was perfect as she was, but people tried to present her as "the fat one," because when she was a very young teenager, her cheeks were a little round. People tell you that you are a particular thing, and it is very difficult to combat."[116] The problem of her weight loss was such that she became weaker, unable to stand up on her own.[117] The film director Trista Jordan recalled: "I've been around thousands of actors and I've never seen anyone that thin. Her elbows... And to get up from a chair she looked like Bambi."[118]

Death

As far as having a New Year's resolution, I'd love to have a child next year.

— Brittany Murphy during her last interview with Access Hollywood on December 3, 2009, seventeen days before her death[119]

At 8:00 a.m. on December 20, 2009, the Los Angeles Fire Department responded to "a medical request"[120] at the Los Angeles home Murphy and Monjack shared. She had apparently collapsed in a bathroom.[16] Firefighters attempted to resuscitate Murphy on the scene. She was transported to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where she died at 10:04 a.m. after going into cardiac arrest.[16][120][121]

An autopsy was performed the day after she died.[122] The Los Angeles County Coroner's Office, in a report issued February 2010, said that the manner of death was accidental and that the cause of death was pneumonia, with secondary factors of severe iron-deficiency anemia and multiple drug intoxication.[12][123] The coroner found a range of over-the-counter and prescription medications in Murphy's system, with the most likely reason being to treat a cold or respiratory infection. These included "elevated levels" of hydrocodone, acetaminophen, L-methamphetamine, and chlorpheniramine, all of which are legal. The report observed: "the possible adverse physiological effects of elevated levels of these medications cannot be discounted, especially in her weakened state."[12]

Grave of Brittany Murphy at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills

On December 24, 2009, Murphy was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood Hills.[124]

In January 2010, Murphy's husband, Simon Monjack, and her mother, Sharon Murphy, claimed that she did not use alcohol or other drugs, and that drugs did not cause her death; instead, they attributed it to a heart condition, mitral valve prolapse.[125][126][127]

On May 23, Monjack was found dead at the same Hollywood Hills residence.[128] The coroner's report attributed his death to acute pneumonia and severe anemia.[129] It was reported that the Los Angeles County Department of Health had considered toxic mold in their house as a possible cause of the deaths, but this was dismissed by Los Angeles Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter, who stated that there were "no indicators" that mold was a factor.[130] Sharon Murphy described the reports of mold contributing to the deaths as "absurd" and went on to state that inspecting the home for mold was never requested by the Health Department.[131] In December 2011, Sharon Murphy changed her stance, announcing that toxic mold was indeed what killed her daughter and son-in-law, and filed a lawsuit against the attorneys who represented her in an earlier suit against the builders of the home where her daughter and son-in-law died.[132]

In January 2012, Murphy's father, Angelo Bertolotti, applied to the Superior Court of California requesting that the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office be required to hand over samples of his daughter's hair for independent testing.[133][134] The suit was dismissed seven months later, after Bertolotti failed to attend two separate hearings.[135]

In November 2013, Bertolotti claimed that a toxicology report showed that deliberate poisoning by heavy metals, including antimony and barium, was a possible cause of his daughter's death. Sharon Murphy described the claim as "a smear".[136][137]

Brittany Murphy Foundation

In January 2010, Murphy's mother, Sharon, and her widower, Simon Monjack, established the Brittany Murphy Foundation, a charitable fund for children's arts education, as well as supporting the USO and cancer research.[138][139]

The Foundation was launched on February 4, 2010, at a fundraising event at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills.[140] After a records search revealed that the foundation's not-for-profit status had not been filed, the foundation refunded any donations received. In an official letter on the foundation's website, they stated that in an effort to get the foundation set up as quickly as possible, they had established it as a private foundation with plans to apply for nonprofit status later. However, they said that they had decided to wait until the foundation's nonprofit status was approved before going any further in order to truly honor Murphy and the foundation's charitable goals.[141]

On November 10, 2013, the Brittany Murphy Foundation was officially relaunched by her father Angelo Bertolotti, according to a press release posted at the foundation's website.[142]

As of September 2018, the Brittany Murphy Foundation appears to be defunct. GuideStar USA, Inc., an information service specializing in reporting on US nonprofit companies, reports that the Brittany Murphy Foundation has not appeared on the IRS Business Master File in months, which may indicate that it has ceased operations.[143]

Legacy

Adam White, for Dazed Digital on November 15, 2017, stated that "the actress was small, but magnetic, with the rare ability to seem completely approachable and terrifying. She had a big, bawdy laugh and acted with a manic mood mixed with breathless disbelief that things had turned out so well."[144] He went on to claim that "she was the equivalent of dancing in your room to a Spice Girls song, or crying out loud at the end of a party after too many drinks", but that "she died too young to establish an adequate legacy, and quietly for posthumous super stardom."[144] He again declared that "she was not pretty enough to be a female protagonist in an era in which lithe and ethereal Gwyneth Paltrow and Kirsten Dunst were the It girls of the moment."[144] The American singer and actress Ariana Grande was compared to Murphy's performance in Clueless when she played the role of Cat Valentine in the Nickelodeon television series Victorious (2010-2013), was described as "very impressive and easily influenced" but "generally sweet."[145]

After her death, a wide variety of friends have dedicated words to her in interviews, recognizing her legacy and work within the film industry. Dakota Fanning, her co-star in the film Uptown Girls (2003) who maintained a friendship with her, said she appreciated the time they spent together both on the set of the film and at events they attended together, and that she was "very grateful to have had the opportunity to work together".[146] The song "Faster Kill Pussycat", by British DJ Paul Oakenfold performed by Murphy, re-entered at number seven on the UK Dance Chart.[147] It also entered the UK Indie Chart in the same week, peaking at number 13.[148]

In October 2021, HBO Max aired a documentary titled What Happened, Brittany Murphy?, covering the mystery surrounding Murphy's death. In the documentary, Murphy's 8 Mile co-star Taryn Manning remembered her as "free-spirited, whimsical and full of laughter".[149] After the documentary premiere, Daniel Fienberg wrote for The Hollywood Reporter that the documentary was "20 percent a reminder of Murphy's transcendent talent, 30 percent a dead-ended investigation into the mystery of her death, and 50 percent an unenlightening examination of Murphy's late husband", and concluded his review saying that "[Murphy] deserved better than the treatment she received in the media, which probably contributed to [Monjack's] ability to control her in the way he did."[150]

In 2023, Alicia Silverstone, who was also her co-star in Clueless (1995) and one of her friends, commented on what it was like working with Murphy during filming:

I always remember when she auditioned for the part. It was the first time I was in a casting room where I was not auditioning. I was just there to help them facilitate chemistry reads. I just remember when she came in and did hers, because when she walked out of the room, I was like, "You guys! Did you see that?" As if they wouldn't know. They were like, "Yes, we saw that!" They were excited too, but it was my first time. She was just so good.

— Alicia Silverstone[151]

Filmography

Films

Year Title Role Notes
1993 Family Prayers Elise Alternative title: A Family Divided
1995 Clueless Tai Frasier
1996 Freeway Rhonda
1997 Bongwater Mary
Drive Deliverance Bodine
1998 Falling Sky Emily Nicholson
The Prophecy II Izzy Direct-to-video release
Phoenix Veronica
Zack and Reba Reba Simpson
1999 Drop Dead Gorgeous Lisa Swenson
Girl, Interrupted Daisy Randone
2000 Trixie Ruby Pearli
Angels! Nurse Bellows
Cherry Falls Jody Marken
The Audition Daniella Short subject
2001 Sidewalks of New York Ashley
Summer Catch Dede Mulligan
Don't Say a Word Elisabeth Burrows
Riding in Cars with Boys Fay Forrester
2002 Spun Nikki
Something in Between Sky Short subject
8 Mile Alex Latourno
2003 Just Married Sarah McNerney
Uptown Girls Molly Gunn
Good Boy! Nelly Voice role
2004 Little Black Book Stacy Holt
2005 Sin City Shellie
Neverwas Maggie Paige
2006 The Groomsmen Sue
Love and Other Disasters Emily "Jacks" Jackson
Happy Feet Gloria Voice role
The Dead Girl Krista Kutcher
2008 The Ramen Girl Abby Producer credit[152]
Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs Colleen O'Hallahan Voice role; direct-to-video release
2009 Across the Hall June
Deadline Alice Direct-to-video release
2010 Abandoned Mary Direct-to-video; posthumous release
2014 Something Wicked Susan Posthumous release (final film role)

Television

Year Title Role Notes
1991 Murphy Brown Frank's sister Episode: "On Another Plane: Part 1"
1991–1992 Drexell's Class Brenda Drexell 18 episodes
1992 Kids Incorporated Celeste Episode: "Lay Off"
Parker Lewis Can't Lose Angie Episode: "The Kiss"
1993 Almost Home Molly Morgan 13 episodes
Blossom Wendy Episode: "Blossom in Paris: Part 1"
1994 Frasier Olsen Episode: "Give Him the Chair!"
Party of Five Abby 2 episodes
1994–1995 Sister, Sister Sarah 6 episodes
1995 Boy Meets World Trini Martin 2 episodes
The Marshal Lizzie Roth Episode: "These Foolish Things"
seaQuest DSV Christine VanCamp Episode: "Second Chance"
Murder One Diane "Dee-Dee" Carson Episode: "Chapter Nine"
1996 Double Jeopardy Julia TV movie
Nash Bridges Carrie Episode: "Night Train"
Clueless Jasmine Episode: "Driving Me Crazy"
1997–2009 King of the Hill Luanne Platter / various characters (voice) 226 episodes
1998 David and Lisa Lisa Movie
1998–2000 Pepper Ann Tank the 8th grader / Poison (voice) 4 episodes
1999 The Devil's Arithmetic Rivkah Showtime film
2000 Common Ground Dorothy Nelson Movie
2005 I'm Still Here Voiceover Documentary about The Holocaust
2009 Tribute Cilla McGowan Movie
Megafault Dr. Amy Lane Movie
2021 What Happened, Brittany Murphy? Herself Posthumous release; archive footage

Video games

Year Title Voice role Notes
1995 My First Encyclopedia Space floor guide Live action
2006 Marc Eckō's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure Karen Light
Happy Feet Gloria

Music videos

Year Song Artist Notes
1995 "Here" Luscious Jackson
2001 "A Little Respect" Wheatus
2004 "Closest Thing to Heaven" Tears for Fears
2006 "Faster Kill Pussycat" Paul Oakenfold Also provided vocals on song

Stage work

Year Production Role Location
1997 A View from the Bridge[153] Catherine Broadway

Awards and nominations

Awards Circuit Community Awards
Year Category Nominated work Result Ref.
1995 Best Supporting Actress in a Supporting Role Clueless Nominated [154]
Satellite Awards
Year Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2002 Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture Don't Say a Word Nominated [155]
Spike Video Game Awards
2006 Best Supporting Female Performance Marc Eckō's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure Nominated [156]
Teen Choice Awards
2003 Choice Movie Actress—Comedy Just Married Nominated [157]
Choice Lip Lock (shared with Ashton Kutcher) Nominated
Choice Movie Actress—Drama/Action-Adventure 8 Mile Nominated
Choice Lip Lock (shared with Eminem) Nominated
2005 Choice Movie Actress—Drama Little Black Book Nominated [158]
Young Artist Awards
1996 Best Professional Actress/Singer Nominated [159]
Best Young Supporting Actress in a Feature Film Clueless Nominated
1999 Best Performance in a TV Movie/Pilot/Mini-Series or Series—Leading Young Actress David and Lisa Nominated [160]
2000 Best Young Leading Actress in a Feature Film Girl, Interrupted Nominated [51]

Notes

  1. ^ Bertolotti was not named as her father on Brittany's first death certificate.[6]
  2. ^ After filming, she bought all the jewelry she used in the film.[1]
  3. ^ She took this phrase as a reference when she said it in the suspense film Don't Say a Word (2001).[87]

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External links