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Brittany Murphy: 1977 – 2009

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According to news reports, actress Brittany Murphy died after suffering from cardiac arrest this morning. She was only 18 when she scored her breakthrough role as Thai, a small town girl thrust into the cutthroat social scene of a Beverly Hills High School in Clueless. She made a big impression in that role and in the many others that followed, including 8 Mile and Sin City.

She had a natural, energetic comic presence unmatched by her peers, one that made some of the movies she starred in, like Little Black Book more entertaining than they probably deserved to be. Her performance in Ed Burns‘, otherwise forgettable, Sidewalks of New York from 2001, was almost the sole reason to see the movie.

Murphy’s talent as an actress also lent itself to voice over work on the Fox TV show King of the Hill and the 2006 animated film Happy Feet. In 2005, she released a single, “Faster Kill Pussycat,” which was the result of a collaboration with DJ Paul Oakenfold.

In the past few years it seemed Murphy had fallen down on her luck both personally and professionally. In 2005 she was fired by her manager and publicist on the same day, which coincided with a decline in offers for Hollywood movies. She had recently made headlines for being fired from the thriller The Caller for causing problems onset.

The news of her death comes at a time it looked as though she would undergo a career revival, with upcoming roles in Sylvester Stallone‘s The Expendables and the comedies Something Wicked and Abandoned. According to the Associated Press, Murphy said her mother Sharon was the reason for her success:

When I asked my mom to move to California, she sold everything and moved out here for me, I was really grateful to have grown up in an environment that was conducive to creating and didn’t stifle any of that. She always believed in me.

Ashton Kutcher, who dated, Murphy in 2003 after co-starring with her in Just Married, posted a message about the the actress’ death on his Twitter accont that read:

2day the world lost a little piece of sunshine.

My deepest condolences go out 2 Brittany’s family, her husband, & her amazing mother Sharon.

see you on the other side kid.

Posted below is a clip of Murphy being interviewed along with Clueless co-stars Alicia Silverstone and Donald Faizon on MTV at the time of  the movie’s 1995 release.

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