Brittany Anne Murphy-Monjack (November 10, 1977 – December 20, 2009),[2] known professionally as Brittany Murphy, was an American actress and singer. She starred in films such as Clueless, Just Married, Girl Interrupted, Spun, 8 Mile, Uptown Girls, Sin City, Happy Feet, and Riding in Cars with Boys. She voiced Luanne Platter on the animated TV series King of the Hill. Her final film, Abandoned, was released direct-to-video on August 24, 2010.

Early life

Brittany Anne Murphy[3] was born in Atlanta, Georgia, on November 10, 1977.[4] Her parents, Sharon Kathleen Murphy[5] and Angelo Bertolotti, divorced when she was two years old, and Murphy was raised by her mother in Edison, New Jersey, where she attended Edison High School. The family later moved to Los Angeles so that Murphy could pursue an acting career.[6][7][8] 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."[4] Murphy's mother is of Irish and Eastern European descent and her father is Italian American.[9][10] She was raised a Baptist and later became a non-denominational Christian.[11][12] She had two older half-brothers and a younger half-sister.[13]


Brittany Murphy attended Verne Fowler School of Dance and Theatre Arts in Colonia, New Jersey, in 1982. At the age of 4, she continued to train in singing, dancing, and acting until her move to California at 13.[14] Murphy made her Broadway debut in 1997, as Catherine, in a revival of Arthur Miller's A View From The Bridge opposite veteran actors Anthony LaPaglia and Allison Janney.[15]

Murphy landed her first job in Hollywood when she was 13, 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, seaQuest 2032, and Frasier. She also had recurring roles on Sister, Sister; Party of Five and Boy Meets World.

Murphy starred in several films, including Clueless (1995); Girl, Interrupted (1999); Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999); Don't Say a Word (2001); the TV adaptation 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 (2002). In 2003, she starred in the romantic comedies Just Married and Little Black Book (2004) and the critically acclaimed Sin City (2005). She starred in two Edward Burns films: Sidewalks of New York (2001) and The Groomsmen (2006). Film critic Roger Ebert acclaimed her acting talent, giving good reviews to several of her films and comparing her to Lucille Ball.[16] 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 was released in August 2010.[4]

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 from 1997 to 2009, and Joseph Gribble until season 5. 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".[17]

Murphy completed her last film, the thriller/drama Abandoned, in June 2009, released in 2010.[18]

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".[19]

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.[20] It also hit number seven in the UK singles chart in June 2006.[21]

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 also appeared in the music video for Luscious Jackson's "Here" and Tears for Fears' "Closest Thing to Heaven."[22]

In 2005, Murphy signed as the spokesmodel for Jordache jeans.[23]

Personal life

In late 2002, Murphy began dating Ashton Kutcher, her co-star in Just Married.[24] 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.[25] In August 2006, they ended their engagement.[25] In May 2007, Murphy married British screenwriter Simon Monjack in a private Jewish ceremony in Los Angeles.[26] For the last three and a half years of her life, Murphy, her mother and Monjack lived together in the same house.[27]

In the early 2000s, Murphy lost a large amount of weight,[28][29] which led to rumors of cocaine addiction.[28][30] In 2005, Murphy refuted such claims to Jane magazine, saying, "No, just for the record I have never tried it in my entire life, I’ve never even seen it, and I don’t leave the house too much, except to go to work."[28][30]


At 08:00 (16:00 GMT) on December 20, 2009, the Los Angeles Fire Department responded to "a medical request"[31] at the Los Angeles home Murphy and Monjack shared. She had apparently collapsed in a bathroom.[4] Firefighters attempted to resuscitate Murphy on the scene. She was transported to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead on arrival[32] at 10:04 after going into cardiac arrest.[4][31]

Shortly after her death, Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter told the Associated Press: "It appears to be natural."[33][34][35] An autopsy was performed on December 21, 2009. Her death certificate listed the cause of death as "deferred".[36] On February 4, 2010, the Los Angeles County coroner stated that the primary cause of Murphy's death was pneumonia, with secondary factors of iron-deficiency anemia and multiple drug intoxication. On February 25, 2010, the coroner released a report stating that Murphy had been taking a range of over-the-counter and prescription medications, 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 the drugs were legal and the death was ruled to be an accident, but the report observed: "the possible adverse physiological effects of elevated levels of these medications cannot be discounted, especially in her weakened state".[37]

Murphy was buried at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills on December 24, 2009.[38]

Five months after Brittany Murphy died, Monjack was found dead at the same Hollywood Hills residence.[39] In July 2010, Los Angeles Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter stated that the cause of his death was acute pneumonia and severe anemia.[40]


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.[41]

The Foundation was officially launched on February 4, 2010, at an event at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills where Monjack requested donations of $1,000 per person and $10,000 per corporation to attend,[42] although records search revealed that the foundation's not-for-profit status had not been filed.[43] Soon thereafter, the foundation announced it would refund any donations received and issued 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 down the road. 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.


Feature films
Year Film Role Notes
1993 Family Prayers Elise Alternative title: A Family Divided
1995 Clueless Tai
1996 Freeway Rhonda
1997 Bongwater Mary
1997 Drive Deliverance Bodine
1998 Falling Sky Emily Nicholson
1998 Prophecy II, TheThe Prophecy II Izzy Direct-to-video release
1998 Phoenix Veronica
1998 Zack and Reba Reba Simpson
1999 Drop Dead Gorgeous Lisa Swenson
1999 Girl, Interrupted Daisy Randone
2000 Trixie Ruby Pearli
2000 Angels! Nurse Bellows
2000 Scary Movie Girl in garage (uncredited)
2000 Cherry Falls Jody Marken
2000 Audition, TheThe Audition Daniella Short subject
2001 Sidewalks of New York Ashley
2001 Summer Catch Dede Mulligan
2001 Don't Say a Word Elisabeth Burrows
2001 Riding in Cars with Boys Fay Forrester
2002 Spun Nikki
2002 Something in Between Sky Short subject
2002 8 Mile Alex Latourno
2003 Just Married Sarah
2003 Uptown Girls Molly Gunn
2003 Good Boy! Nelly Voice
2004 Little Black Book Stacy Holt
2005 Sin City Shellie
2005 Neverwas Maggie Blake
2006 Groomsmen, TheThe Groomsmen Sue
2006 Love and Other Disasters Emily "Jacks" Jackson
2006 Happy Feet Gloria Voice
2006 Dead Girl, TheThe Dead Girl Krista Kutcher
2008 Ramen Girl, TheThe Ramen Girl Abby
2008 Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs Colleen (voice) Direct-to-DVD release
2009 Across the Hall June
2009 Deadline Alice
2010 Something Wicked Susan post-production
2010 Abandoned Mary Direct-to-DVD release
Year Title Role Notes
1991 Murphy Brown Frank's sister 1 episode
Drexell's Class Brenda Drexell 18 episodes
1992 Kids Incorporated Celeste 1 episode
1992 Parker Lewis Can't Lose Angie 1 episode
1993 Almost Home Molly Morgan 13 episodes
1993 Blossom Wendy 1 episode
1994 Frasier Olsen 1 episode
1994 Party of Five Abby 2 episodes
Sister, Sister Sarah 6 episodes
1995 Boy Meets World Trini 2 episodes
1995 Marshal, TheThe Marshal Lizzie Roth 1 episode
1995 seaQuest DSV Christine VanCamp 1 episode
1995 Murder One Diane "Dee-Dee" Carson 1 episode
1996 Double Jeopardy Julia Television movie
1996 Nash Bridges Carrie 1 episode
1996 Clueless Jasmine 1 episode
King of the Hill Luanne Platter (voice)
Various characters (voice)
226 episodes
1998 David and Lisa Lisa Television movie
1999 Devil's Arithmetic, TheThe Devil's Arithmetic Rivkah Television movie
Pepper Ann Tank the 8th grader (voice) 3 episodes
2000 Common Ground Dorothy Nelson Television movie
2009 Tribute Cilla McGowan Television movie
2009 Megafault Dr. Amy Lane Television movie


  1. "In Step with Brittany Murphy." Parade Magazine 11-28-2006. Link to Article. Retrieved 2-13-2010.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Actress Brittany Murphy dead at 32". CNN. 2009-12-20. Retrieved 2009-12-20. 
  3. "Brittany Murphy Death Certificate" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-03-05. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 "Brittany Murphy, Actress, Dies at 32". The New York Times. 2009-12-20. Retrieved 2009-12-20. [dead link]
  5. "Brittany Murphy's death certificate" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-03-05. 
  6. Rochlin, Margy (2001-09-30). "Film; A Young Trouper Who Plays Crazy as Well as Sexy". The New York Times. p. 2. Retrieved 2009-12-20. 
  7. The Associated Press (2009-12-20). "Brittany Murphy's father mourns actress' death". Florida AP. Retrieved 2009-12-20. [dead link]
  8. "Brittany Murphy Dead: Dies At Just 32". Retrieved 2010-03-05. 
  9. Wollman Rusoff, Jane (2001-10-18). "The rising actress switches gears and goes from crazy to sexy for Riding in Cars With Boys". Mr. Showbiz. Retrieved 2009-11-18. 
  10. McGoldrick, Debbie (2005). "Brittany: I’m Irish!". Irish Voice. Retrieved 2009-11-18. 
  11. Horowitz, Josh (2006-12-28). "Role Call: Brittany Murphy On Playing Prostitute, Penguin". Retrieved 2009-12-20. 
  12. "Uptown Brittany, Effervescent Actress Finds Herself Cast As A Tabloid Darling While Her Career Moves Into Fast Lane". San Jose Mercury News. 2003-08-11. Retrieved 2009-12-20. ; "A non-denominational Christian, she wears a cross around her neck and has my whole life —I feel more comfortable with a cross."
  13. What Went Wrong With Brittany Murphy?: Was It Drugs, Anorexia or Her 'Shady' Husband" That Led to Her Death at 32? LUCHINA FISHER. ABC News. December 22, 2009.
  14. "Mentor remembers Brittany Murphy as 'talented child' -". CNN. 2009-12-21. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  16. "Little Black Book". 2004-08-06. Retrieved 2010-03-05. 
  17. King of the Hill awards IMDB
  18. Cady, Jennifer (December 23, 2009). "Preview Brittany Murphy's Final Film, Abandoned". E!. Retrieved 2009-12-24. 
  19. Angus, Kat (1 December 2009). "Twilight New Moon actress replaces Brittany Murphy, who 'was not' fired from movie". The Vancouver Sun. Retrieved on 6 December 2009.
  20. "Paul Oakenfold Album & Song Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 2009-09-01. 
  21. ""Faster Kill Pussycat" Chart Stats page". Archived from the original on 2011-12-04. 
  22. Brittany Murphy Trivia and Quotes Retrieved December 21, 2009.
  23. "Brittany Murphy, new face of Jordache". July 25, 2005. Retrieved September 2, 2009. 
  24. Miller, Samantha (January 20, 2003). "Baby, Let's Play Married". People. Retrieved September 1, 2009. 
  25. 25.0 25.1 Ingrassia, Lisa (August 22, 2006). "Brittany Murphy, Fiancé End Engagement". People. Retrieved September 1, 2009. 
  26. Fleeman, Mike (August 5, 2007). "Brittany Murphy Marries Writer-Director". People. 
  27. By Lorenzo Benet, (2009-12-22). "Brittany Murphy's husband mourns". Retrieved 2010-03-05. 
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 Dillon, Nancy; Kolodner, Meredith (2009-12-20). "Clueless actress Brittany Murphy dies after collapsing in shower; death 'appears to be natural'". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2010-07-24. 
  29. "Brittany Murphy, 32, dies of cardiac arrest". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2010-07-24. 
  30. 30.0 30.1 "INSIDE STORY: Brittany Murphy's 'Inner Demons'". People. Retrieved 2010-07-24. 
  31. 31.0 31.1 Helfand, Duke (December 20, 2009). "Actress Brittany Murphy dead at 32". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 20, 2009. 
  32. Dore, Shalini (2009-12-20). "Actress Brittany Murphy dies at 32". Variety. Retrieved 21 December 2009. 
  33. McCartney, Anthony (2009-12-21). "Actress Brittany Murphy dies in LA at age 32". Associated Press. Retrieved 21 December 2009. [dead link]
  34. "Brittany Murphy's family pay tribute to 'shining star'". BBC News. 2009-12-21. Retrieved 2009-12-21. 
  35. Davies, Rebecca (2009-12-21). "Brittany Murphy death was "natural"". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2009-12-21. 
  36. "L.A. Coroner Releases Brittany Murphy's Death Certificate" US Magazine. December 29, 2009. Retrieved December 30, 2009.
  37. "Cold medicines contributed to Brittany Murphy's death, coroner says". CNN. 2010-02-25. Retrieved 2010-02-26. 
  38. Dillon, Nancy (December 24, 2009). "Brittany Murphy's family, friends gather for somber Christmas Eve funeral". Daily News. 
  39. Blankstein, Andrew; Connell, Rich (May 23, 2010). "Husband of actress Brittany Murphy found dead at home". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Company). Retrieved May 24, 2010.  Cite uses deprecated parameter |coauthors= (help)
  40. "Coroner finds Simon Monjack's death was similar to Brittany Murphy's". CNN. 2010-07-22. Retrieved 2010-07-28. 
  41. Brittany Murphy Foundation Official Site. Retrieved 15 February 2010.
  42. "Simon Monjack Launches Brittany Murphy Foundation.", accessed 15 February 2010
  43. Brittany Murphy Foundation 'not a charity', Retrieved 15 February 2010.

External links

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