The Untimely Death of a Ramen Girl: Brittany Murphy
2009, has been a year plagued in death for celebrities, so why were we surprised when news surfaced on Sunday, December 20, 2009, of the death of Brittany Murphy? She may not have been as big of world sensation as Michael Jackson or as big an American Icon as Patrick Swayze or Farrah Fawcett to many, but she was a star in her own right. Her rise to stardom started with her break through role in Clueless as Tai in 1996. Though, she was no stranger to acting at this point, as she had already had roles on big shows such as Murphy Brown in 1991, and multiple appearances on Drexell's Class (1991-1992), Almost Home (1993) and Blossom (1993). After Clueless, Murphy had a string of small roles and a number of television appearances before her next role in the smash hit Girl Interrupted as Daisy Randone in 1999. One of Brittany’s most notable television roles, was as the recurring voice of Luanne Platter on the animated hit King of the Hill.
Since her role in Girl Interrupted, Brittany has worked on many film projects. Some of her more notable roles would be in 2001 as Elisabeth in Don’t Say a Word, opposite Eminem in 8 Mile as Alex in 2002, in Just Married opposite Ashton Kutcher (2003) as Sarah, as Molly Gunn in Uptown Girls with Dakota Fanning (2003), in Sin City as Shellie in 2005, Happy Feet (2006) as the voice of Gloria and Love and Other Disasters (2006) as Emily Jackson-Jacks. In addition to acting, Brittany also tried her hand at Production on the film Ramen Girl where she produced as well as acted.
Brittany also starred as Mary with Dean Cain in Abandoned which was originally set to release sometime in 2009 but is still in post-production. She is also set to star in The Expendables and Something Wicked in 2010, both of which are in post-production and Shrinking Charlotte which was still in pre-production at the time Brittany’s untimely death. Brittany was only 32 at the time of her death, this past weekend. Young, vivacious, and a beautiful woman full of life. It is becoming all too familiar a story, stars expiring well before anticipated, but Brittany was an especially hard blow to the younger community.
Brittany Murphy was born in Atlanta, Georgia, on November 10, 1977 to her mother Sharon Murphy and her father Angelo Bertolotti. When Brittany was only 2-years old her parents divorced and she moved to New Jersey for sometime, and then later relocated to Los Angeles, where Brittany was able to more actively pursue her acting career. Brittany landed her first acting job in Hollywood when she was only 14, starring as Brenda Drexell in the series Drexell's Class.
After a string of unsuccessful relationships, Brittany married a British screenwriter, Simon Monjack, in May of 2007 in a private Jewish ceremony. Though an otherwise very healthy young woman, Brittany had been diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes and she suffered from a thyroid condition. Both of which, if monitored and treated, are non-life threatening conditions.
It was reported that at 8:00 a.m., on December 20, 2009, the Los Angeles Fire Department responded to "a medical request" at Brittany’s home. Apparently, she had collapsed in a bathroom, after showing flu-like symptoms. Once on scene, firefighters attempted to resuscitate Brittany before transporting her to Cedars-SinaiMedicalCenter, where she was then pronounced dead upon arrival, at 10:04 a.m. after going into cardiac arrest. The actual cause of her death is yet to be determined, but the Assistant Chief Coroner, Ed Winter, was quoted as saying that "it appears to be [of] natural [causes]." Though an autopsy was performed on December 21, 2009, the full results of the report will not be available for several weeks as her medical records and toxicology reports are being examined.
Brittany’s family has been devastated by her death. Her father has spoken to the press about how shocked and shaken up he is by her death, as well as her husband Simon, who said that "[his] world [has been] destroyed". I was utterly saddened when I, myself, heard this news early Sunday morning. My initial reaction was that it was just another hoax, but was quickly proven otherwise, as reputable news sources began reporting on her death. Brittany Murphy was an icon of my generation, a beautiful young woman with a special presence about her. No matter what negative attention was thrown her way, she always managed to come out on top.
RIP Brittany Murphy.
November 10, 1977 – December 20, 2009
You will be missed.