October 19, 2021

‘Clueless’ Actress Brittany Murphy’s Tragic Dying Exploited in Ghoulish New Documentary

8 min read

It was a tragic coincidence when actress Brittany Murphy was laid to relaxation a day earlier than Christmas in 2009. The previous baby actress, who had blossomed into Hollywood’s beloved woman subsequent door with the success of Clueless, had all the time mentioned it was her favourite vacation.

The 32-year-old had died just a few days earlier at her Los Angeles house, the place she’d been holed up along with her mysterious and controlling husband, Simon Monjack. Her reason for dying was cited as untreated pneumonia, exacerbated by Murphy being extraordinarily anemic and underweight. And whereas there was no proof of alcohol or illicit substance abuse, an post-mortem confirmed she had a mix of painkillers and over-the-counter medication in her system.

Murphy’s dying prompted a media circus on the top of the aughts, when tabloids and paparazzi terrorized young starlets, a time when superstar blogger Perez Hilton gleefully used Microsoft Paint to cruelly ridicule and mock the likes of Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and Murphy.

HBO Max’s What Happened, Brittany Murphy?, a two-part documentary that premieres Thursday, tries to ship some solutions as to what might have induced the bubbly and wholesome actress’s well being to say no so severely that one of many final folks to ever work with Murphy described her wanting so frail that she gave the impression to be in ache each time she moved.

“Her eyes had been so sunken, and she or he simply appeared so unhappy,” One thing Depraved make-up artist Trista Jordan recalled. “She wasn’t herself. She was in a lot ache. She had Bambi legs and couldn’t rise up.”

The movie locations the majority of the blame on Murphy’s 40-year-old husband Monjack, an newbie British screenwriter who’s described as a prolific charmer and con man, leaping from girl to girl after he’d bled their funds dry. In response to the documentary, Monjack managed each aspect of Murphy’s life and, harboring a sick desire for anorexic-looking ladies, inspired Murphy to reduce weight and get cosmetic surgery.

In the end, the documentary accuses him of refusing to let Murphy get medical assist when she desperately wanted it. And 5 months after Murphy’s dying, Monjack additionally handed away, his reason for dying practically an identical to hers.

It’s nonetheless considerably of a thriller how Monjack managed to sink his hooks into Murphy. Her associates describe her being in a very weak state when she met the aspiring filmmaker in 2006.

Already, Murphy had succumbed to the Hollywood machine, shedding weight, dying her hair blond, and altering her take care of being informed she was “huggable however not fuckable.”

Her profession gave the impression to be in a lull due to a couple lackluster tasks, and Murphy was nursing a damaged coronary heart over a string of short-lived relationships, together with along with her 8 Mile costar Eminem and with Ashton Kutcher, in addition to failed engagements to expertise supervisor Jeff Kwatinetz and Little Black Ebook manufacturing assistant Joe Macaluso.

These components created an ideal storm for Monjack, and the 2 married a yr after their preliminary assembly. At one level, associates tried to stage an intervention for Murphy, warning each her and her mom Sharon about Monjack’s historical past of earlier run-ins with the regulation and that he was residing within the U.S. on an expired visa. However they waved off their issues, claiming they trusted him.

After Monjack’s dying, it was uncovered that he had drained Murphy’s checking account of $3 million in simply three years. Murphy’s grieving mom was distraught when she discovered the jewels that Monjack had claimed to be value thousands and thousands of {dollars} had been pretend, shortly realizing all of the properties and shares he had claimed to have invested in had been lies, too.

The documentary options interviews with Monjack’s defensive mom Linda and his brother James. They each admit that from an early age Monjack was a grasp manipulator, however Linda reasoned he solely had a shift in his persona at 16 when his father died from most cancers.

What Occurred, Brittany Murphy? reveals that Monjack had two youngsters, which Murphy allegedly knew nothing about. Solely after her dying was it found that Monjack had fathered a daughter and was funding her non-public schooling in England. However in a twist that even Sharon and Monjack’s former disaster publicist Roger Neal had been unaware of, Monjack had additionally fathered a son together with his former fiancée Elizabeth Ragsdale.

Talking out for the primary time, Ragsdale recounted how she was swept off her toes by Monjack after assembly him in Paris in 1998, main her to simply accept his proposal quickly after they began courting. However she shortly discovered he was a talented liar, explaining that one night time whereas attempting to guilt-trip her into having intercourse, Monjack falsely claimed to have spinal most cancers and to wish an experimental shark fin therapy in Monaco.

Their relationship ended abruptly when Ragsdale was 4 months pregnant. Monjack had satisfied her to fly to New York so their baby could be born within the U.S., however after she landed and tried to contact him, he ghosted her. “I referred to as him, and he answered. I mentioned, ‘Simon, I’ve made it to…’ and earlier than I might get that sentence out, he hung up on me. He left me pregnant and deserted,” Ragsdale recalled by means of tears, including that she briefly thought-about committing suicide as a result of she was so heartbroken.

Actress Brittany Murphy and husband Simon Monjack attend the Monique Lhuillier Fall 2008 vogue present throughout Mercedes-Benz Trend Week at The Promenade at Bryant Park on February 5, 2008, in New York Metropolis.

Bryan Bedder/Getty

Ragsdale alleged that Monjack most well-liked anorexic-looking ladies and would usually criticize her physique. She additionally claimed he had separated her from family members and believes she would have died if a buddy hadn’t intervened and made him take her to a hospital when she was severely ailing.

The L.A. County coroner contended that Murphy being extraordinarily underweight performed a direct position in her dying, explaining that in an effort to have such a drastic case of anemia, she hadn’t been consuming. The county’s health worker added that Murphy’s blood depend was dangerously low. “If she had a take a look at earlier than she died, any physician would have her within the ER and hooked as much as a transfusion,” she mentioned.

Murphy’s isolation mirrored Ragsdale’s description of Monjack shutting out her household and associates. Quickly after they began courting, Murphy fired her whole workforce, placing an unqualified Monjack of their place. Because of this, her profession took a significant nosedive; Murphy started showing in junky horror movies and straight-to-video motion pictures. In Murphy’s final movie, Monjack had even demanded to be her sole make-up artist.

Many spoke of how Murphy usually gave the impression to be beneath the affect of some sort of substance, along with her speech slurred and a glazed look in her eye. After her dying, investigators discovered practically 90 prescription tablet bottles scattered round her bed room. The prescriptions had been beneath her title and a handful of aliases.

She was practically fired from Throughout the Corridor attributable to her erratic “Jekyll and Hyde” habits, together with her refusal to do a easy kissing scene due to her relationship with Monjack. (Director Alex Merkin purposely let Monjack overhear him complain that Murphy was getting ready to being changed, with Monjack finally forcing Murphy to do the scene.)

Monjack additionally exerted management over Murphy’s private life, with former co-stars and administrators recalling how she didn’t appear to have a telephone and the one method to contact her was by means of Monjack.

Monjack additionally exerted management over Murphy’s private life, with former co-stars and administrators recalling how she didn’t appear to have a telephone and the one method to contact her was by means of Monjack.

Remoted from her associates, Murphy spent most of her time hunkered down in her unkempt L.A. house with Monjack, the place Sharon additionally lived. The couple would hardly sleep, allegedly taking downers all through the night time earlier than taking uppers in the course of the day to stave off exhaustion. The documentary alleges that in these all-nighters, Monjack and Murphy would stage weird photoshoots, the place Murphy would pose with bondage-style masks over her face.

Following Murphy’s dying, Monjack did little to ease the hypothesis surrounding him, selecting to pose with Sharon in a photoshoot that made it seem as if they had been lovers, somewhat than a grief-stricken mom and her son-in-law. Making issues worse, they freely admitted to sleeping in the identical mattress, claiming they had been comforting one another.

A subsequent interview with Larry King additionally turned a catastrophe, as Monjack tried to clarify his reasoning for not wanting an post-mortem carried out on Murphy whereas a crazy Sharon sputtered incoherently. “There was this girl who simply misplaced her daughter,” he mentioned, referring to Sharon. “It was such a shock. This pristine physique that’s curvy in all the appropriate locations, pores and skin like silk. How might I say in entrance of her mom, ‘Reduce her up?’”

Whereas What Occurred, Brittany Murphy? makes an attempt to reply its personal query, it falls quick, with the complete fact of what occurred resting solely with Murphy and Monjack.

If something, it stresses how she was horribly mistreated and disregarded, each then and now. These closest to her had been unable to identify the tell-tale indicators of potential home abuse, and those that might had been unable to pry her from Monjack’s tight grip.

Actress Brittany Murphy seems in the course of the In Memoriam on the sixteenth Annual Display Actors Guild Awards held on the Shrine Auditorium on January 23, 2010, in Los Angeles, California.

Kevin Winter/Getty

Because of this, Murphy was exploited by the individual she trusted probably the most: her husband. And the documentary is usually responsible of exploitation as effectively.

The opening scene performs the heartbreaking 911 name the place Murphy’s mom lets out a guttural wail as Monjack tries to carry out CPR on Murphy’s lifeless physique. Barely has the viewer had the possibility to recuperate earlier than Sylvan Esso’s synth-y pop music “Die Younger” blares over the title sequence whereas photographs of a younger Murphy flash throughout the display screen.

The filmmakers selectively sprinkle in clips of Murphy from her varied movies to function a type of unusual first-person commentary. When interviewees are speculating about Murphy’s drug and prescription tablet use, Murphy is proven as her character Daisy in Lady, Interrupted saying, “Simply give me the fucking Valium.”

In one of many last scenes of the documentary, random YouTube vloggers are given display screen time to spout off their unfounded theories about whether or not or not Murphy’s post-mortem was solid, if she was deliberately poisoned, or if somebody was bribed to cowl up the reality. The movie cuts to a clip of Murphy in The Prophecy II the place she shoots herself within the chest with a gun. “Please can’t you simply let me die?” she pleads.

There’s no denying that there must be some type of public acknowledgement over how Murphy was wrongfully frolicked to dry by the general public and the media. Throughout a time when she desperately wanted assist, she was used as an affordable punchline on Saturday Evening Dwell and mocked by Howard Stern, who referred to her as fats and ugly, and made crude feedback about her previous relationships to her then-boyfriend Ashton Kutcher.

The world has been pressured to re-examine its therapy of Spears, Hilton and Lohan—and Murphy deserves the identical stage of compassion. Just for her, it’s going to come far too late.

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