The Clueless actress died yesterday at the age of 32.
- Kathy Campbell, BettyConfidential.comI was simultaneously surprised but, sadly, not shocked when I heard yesterday that Brittany Murphy had died of a heart attack at the age of 32. While the coroner's ruling won't be known for some days or weeks, part of me can't help but wonder if the actress who played wide-eyed Tai in Clueless is yet another victim of Hollywood's dark side.
After finding fame in 1995, she starred in films like Girl Interrupted, 8 Mile, Just Married and Uptown Girls, and while she had talent and oodles of energy to spare, some wondered if there was something bugging Brittany.
She dyed her dark hair blond and her lips suddenly looked plumper, but a bigger concern was her weight, which yo-yoed dramatically, prompting rumors of anorexia or cocaine addiction. Brittany denied the claims, telling Jane magazine in 2005, that she had never tried the drug in her entire life, adding, "I've never even seen it…. I am also way too high-strung. I can't even take a Sudafed. Can you imagine? My God. I think my heart would explode."
Whether the last part of that quote proves to be prophetic remains to be seen, but that hasn't stopped Perez Hilton from drawing his own conclusions and warning Lindsay Lohan and Courtney Love to run, not walk, to rehab in order to avoid a similar fate. "Dear @LindsayLohan and Courtney Love, wake up!!!!" he Tweeted. "Please go to rehab again and GET IT TOGETHER before it's too late! R.I.P. Brittany Murphy."
Jamie Kennedy, whose girlfriend and Ghost Whisperer co-star, Jennifer Love Hewitt, has faced criticism for not being a size 0, has his own theory and Tweeted, "Britney [sic] they say died of cardiac arrest from anorexia. Jesus christ how long before we f---in realize we r too hard on women in this biz."
According to reports, Brittany's mom, Sharon, discovered her daughter unconscious in the shower at 8 o'clock yesterday morning and called 911. Paramedics were advised by Sharon that Brittany had a history of diabetes. They administered CPR and the actress was transported to Cedars-Sinai Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 10:04 a.m. Her husband, Simon Monjack reportedly didn't want an autopsy performed on his wife of two years, but the L.A. County coroner and LAPD are conducting an investigation into her death, so an autopsy is expected to be conducted, despite her husband's wishes.
Recent years had not been kind to Brittany. After two broken engagements, and a relationship with her Just Married co-star Ashton Kutcher, she married Monjack, a screenwriter several years her senior, in May 2007. She was reportedly happy with him, despite stories claiming that he had a shady past (including warrants for alleged credit card theft and fraud).
Recently there had been whispers about Brittany exhibiting unusual behavior, and last month, she was reportedly fired for being difficult on the set of The Caller, a film she was shooting in Puerto Rico. (Following those reports, Saturday Night Live mocked her in a Weekend Update skit.) But her rep denied that Brittany had been fired, telling OK magazine, "The allegations currently circulating on the Internet about Brittany Murphy and her husband, Simon Monjack, read like a fictional plot from one of the 50 plus movies Ms. Murphy has successfully completed without incident."
So while the rumors swirl about the cause of Brittany's untimely demise, I, like thousands of others, will think back on all those movies and remember the girl who made me laugh and cry. As #RIP Brittany Murphy became the top trending topic on Twitter last night and fans - and celebs - shared their feelings of sadness, her ex Ashton Kutcher summed up the thoughts of many when he Tweeted, "2day the world lost a little piece of sunshine."
Do you have a favorite Brittany Murphy film?
Kathy Campbell is BettyConfidential's Executive Managing Editor