Home Horror SubgenresTrue Crime Brittany Murphy: A Controversial Death

Brittany Murphy: A Controversial Death

by Piper St. James

In the long list of celebrities who have been taken away from us too soon, Brittany Murphy is surely at the top. At just 32 years old, Murphy died under mysterious circumstances in 2009. Recently Investigation Discovery released an hour long special examining her case.


The young starlet’s mother, Sharon, found her daughter in the bathroom of her Los Angeles home unresponsive on the morning of December 20, 2009. Sharon called 911 and Murphy’s husband, Simon Monjack, attempted to preform CPR to resuscitate his young wife as they waited for medics to arrive.

The death of the successful actress stunned the world. Rumors flew about the cause of her early demise. Even after the medical examiner reported the autopsy’s findings many believed there was something more that had happened. Something insidious.

The death certificate listed pneumonia, anemia, and multiple drug intoxication as Murphy’s cause of death, Yet many, especially those who were close to her, were not satisfied with these answers.

At 17 years old Brittany Murphy was first discovered by many in the movie Clueless. Despite playing co-star to well established Alicia Silverstone, many believed Murphy’s performance had out-shined the blonde bombshell. However at this early age, she was still seen as a plump brunette, and by Hollywood standards this kept her from the leading roles she was so eager to obtain.

CLUELESS, Brittany Murphy, 1995

Soon after Clueless Murphy dropped the weight and dyed her hair blonde and Hollywood came knocking. Finally she began landing the roles she had always dreamed of and new she had the talent for. Some of her most notable performances includes 8 Mile, Just Married, and Sin City.

Brittany’s mother Sharon quickly moved in with her highly accomplished and successful daughter in Los Angeles. It had been observed the two appeared to have more a friendship rather than the traditional mother/daughter relationship.

Sharon Murphy with daughter and actress Brittany Murphy

While Murphy’s acting career was sky rocketing, she always had a rocky love life. She would date, but not be in long committed relationships. That was until 2006.

In 2006 Murphy met Simon Monjack, writer of The White Hotel, a movie role she was hoping to land. It was during their one on one meetings about the script the two found an instant chemistry. Murphy and Monjack, 8 years her senior, dated for one year before tying the knot.

Actress Brittany Murphy and husband Simon Monjack

It was during the time she was with Monjack that many noticed a change in Murphy’s behavior. Those who worked with Murphy on set noticed she was forgetting lines, appeared “out of it”, and was smoking crack with her newlywed husband after being on set.

Soon after her manager and agency dumped the actress. This tumbled Murphy into a world of low budget movies and small roles she was well above in her better days. Once an A list actress, Murphy was now only being offered B movie roles well beneath her acting ability.

This also coincided with Monjack’s behavior of keeping his wife isolated. He took it upon himself to tell her which roles she should take, which agents to talk to, and which offers to decline.

The anguish Murphy faced may explain why she had multiple bottles of medications for anxiety, depression, and pain killers.

Monjack’s odd behavior and controlling ways made many believe he had something to do with her death. However, this theory was quickly put to rest when he was found by his mother in law deceased in his bed.

Eerily Monjack’s cause of death was the same as his wife’s just five months earlier; pneumonia and anemia. The fact Sharon Murphy found both her daughter and son in law deceased in extremely similar circumstances raised many eyebrows by both officials and the media. Yet what would her motive be?

Many believe Sharon Murphy’s motive was the fact she was a third wheel in the relationship, and her daughter and son in law were in the plans of changing that dynamic. It had been reported that the married couple were planning on starting a life in New York City, and Sharon was not part of that future. Sharon declined to respond to any allegations of being involved in her daughter and son in law’s death, and neither of their deaths are currently being looked into.

What do you think lead to the young actress’s early demise? Let us know in the comment below.

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