Actress Brittany Murphy dies in LA at age 32

Dec 20 2009 - 9:39pm


SLIDESHOW: Brittany Murphy

LOS ANGELES aEU" Brittany Murphy, the actress who got her start in the sleeper hit aEUoeCluelessaEU and rose to stardom in aEUoe8 MileaEU before her movie roles declined in recent years, died Sunday in Los Angeles of what appeared to be natural causes, a Los Angeles County coroneraEU(tm)s official said. She was 32.

Murphy was pronounced dead at 10:04 a.m. at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, hospital spokeswoman Sally Stewart said.

Murphy was transported to the hospital after the Los Angeles Fire Department responded to a call at 8 a.m. at the home she shared with her husband, British screenwriter Simon Monjack, in the Hollywood Hills.
Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter said Murphy apparently collapsed in the bathroom, and authorities were looking into her medical history.

An official cause of death may not be determined for some time, since toxicology tests will be required, but aEUoeit appears to be natural,aEU Winter said. He said an autopsy was planned for Monday or Tuesday.

Winter said MurphyaEU(tm)s family was cooperating with the coroneraEU(tm)s investigation. Funeral arrangements have not been announced, he said.

Los Angeles police have opened an investigation into MurphyaEU(tm)s death, Officer Norma Eisenman said.

Detectives and coroneraEU(tm)s officials were at Murphy and MonjackaEU(tm)s home Sunday afternoon but did not talk to reporters. Paparazzi were camped outside the multistory home, located above the Sunset Strip.

Messages left for MurphyaEU(tm)s manager and agent by The Associated Press were not immediately returned.
Neighbor Clare Staples said she saw firefighters working to resuscitate the actress Sunday morning. She said Murphy was on a stretcher and aEUoelooked as though she was dead at the scene.aEU

MurphyaEU(tm)s husband, wearing pajama bottoms and no shoes, appeared aEUoedazedaEU as firefighters tried to save her, Staples said. aEUoeItaEU(tm)s just tragic,aEU she added. first reported MurphyaEU(tm)s death Sunday morning.

MurphyaEU(tm)s father, Angelo Bertolotti, said he learned of her death from his son, the actressaEU(tm)s brother, and was stunned.

aEUoeShe was just an absolute doll since she was born,aEU Bertolotti said from his Branford, Fla., home. aEUoeHer personality was always outward. Everybody loved her aEU" people that made movies with her, people on a cruise aEU" they all loved her. She was just a regular gal.aEU

He said he hadnaEU(tm)t heard much about the circumstances of MurphyaEU(tm)s death. Bertolotti divorced her mother when Murphy was young and hadnaEU(tm)t seen Murphy in the past few years. He said he used to be in the mob and served prison time on federal drug charges.

aEUoeShe was just talented,aEU Bertolotti said. aEUoeAnd I loved her very much.aEU

Meanwhile, MurphyaEU(tm)s publicist, Nicole Perna, said in a statement: aEUoeIn this time of sadness, the family thanks you for your love and support. It is their wish that you respect their privacy.aEU

Born Nov. 10, 1977, in Atlanta, Murphy grew up in New Jersey and later moved with her mother to Los Angeles to pursue acting.

Her career started in the early 1990s with small roles in television series, commercials and movies. She is best known for parts in aEUoeGirl, Interrupted,aEU aEUoeCluelessaEU and aEUoe8 Mile.aEU

Her on-screen work had lessened of late, but MurphyaEU(tm)s voice gave life to numerous animated characters, including Luanne Platter on more than 200 episodes of FoxaEU(tm)s aEUoeKing of the HillaEU and Gloria the penguin in the 2006 feature aEUoeHappy Feet.aEU

She is due to appear in Sylvester StalloneaEU(tm)s upcoming film, aEUoeThe Expendables,aEU set for release next year.

Her role in aEUoe8 MileaEU led to more recognition, Murphy told AP in 2003. aEUoeThat changed a lot,aEU she said. aEUoeThat was the difference between people knowing my first and last name as opposed to not.aEU

Murphy credited her mother, Sharon, with being a key to her success.

aEUoeWhen I asked my mom to move to California, she sold everything and moved out here for me,aEU Murphy said. aEUoeI was really grateful to have grown up in an environment that was conducive to creating and didnaEU(tm)t stifle any of that. She always believed in me.aEU

She dated Ashton Kutcher, who costarred with Murphy in 2003aEU(tm)s romantic comedy aEUoeJust Married.aEU

Kutcher sent a message on Twitter Sunday morning about MurphyaEU(tm)s death: aEUoe2day the world lost a little piece of sunshine,aEU Kutcher wrote. aEUoeMy deepest condolences go out 2 BrittanyaEU(tm)s family, her husband, & her amazing mother Sharon.aEU

AP Entertainment Writer Anthony McCartney and Matt Sedensky in Miami contributed to this report.

Updated 8:30 p.m.


LOS ANGELES -- A Los Angeles County coroner's official says it appears actress Brittany Murphy died of natural causes.

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center spokeswoman Sally Stewart says Murphy was pronounced dead at 10:04 a.m. Sunday. Murphy was transported to the hospital after the Los Angeles Fire Department responded to a call at 8 a.m. at the home Murphy shared with her husband, British screenwriter Simon Monjack, in the Hollywood Hills.

Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter says the cause of Murphy's death "appears to be natural."

He says Murphy apparently collapsed in the bathroom Sunday morning, and authorities are looking into her medical history.

Winter says Murphy's family is cooperating with the coroner's investigation. He says an autopsy is planned for Monday or Tuesday.

Murphy starred in such films as "Clueless," "8 Mile," and "Don't Say a Word."


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