Belfast Telegraph

Brittany Murphy, star of 8 Mile and Clueless, dies aged 32

Actress Brittany Murphy, star of 8 Mile and Clueless, has died.

Murphy, 32, died at 10.04am local time yesterday, said Sally Stewart, a spokeswoman for the Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles. She would not provide a cause of death, or any other information.

Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Devon Gale said crews responded to a call from a home in Los Angeles which is listed as belonging to Murphy's husband, British screenwriter Simon Monjack. Mr Gale said one person was taken to hospital.

Messages left for Murphy's manager, agent and publicist were not immediately returned.

The actress starred in such films as Clueless, 8 Mile, and Don't Say A Word.

Los Angeles police confirmed they had now opened an investigation into Murphy's death.

Detectives and coroner's officials were at Murphy and Monjack's home this afternoon but did not talk to reporters. Paparazzi were camped outside.

Neighbour Clare Staples said she saw firefighters working to resuscitate the actress this morning. She said Murphy was on a stretcher and "looked as though she was dead at the scene".

Murphy's husband, wearing pyjama bottoms and no shoes, appeared "dazed" as firefighters tried to save her, Ms Staples said.

"It's just tragic," she said.

Murphy's father, Angelo Bertolotti, said he learned of her death from his son, the actress's brother, and was stunned.

"She was just an absolute doll since she was born," Mr Bertolotti said from his Florida home.

"Her personality was always outward. Everybody loved her - people that made movies with her, people on a cruise - they all loved her. She was just a regular gal."

He said he hadn't heard much about the circumstances of Murphy's death. Mr Bertolotti divorced her mother when Murphy was young and hadn't seen Murphy in the past few years.

"She was just talented," he said. "And I loved her very much."

Mr Bertolotti was in the Mob and served prison time on federal drug charges.

Born on November 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 Girl, Interrupted, Clueless and 8 Mile.

Her role as rapper Eminem's girlfriend in the film 8 Mile led to more recognition, Murphy told The Associated Press (AP) in 2003. "That changed a lot," she said. "That was the difference between people knowing my first and last name as opposed to not."

Her on-screen roles declined in recent years, but Murphy's voice gave life to numerous animated characters, including Luanne Platter on more than 200 episodes of Fox's King of the Hill and Gloria the penguin in the 2006 feature Happy Feet.

She is due to appear in Sylvester Stallone's upcoming film, The Expendables, set for release next year.

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

"When I asked my mom to move to California, she sold everything and moved out here for me," Murphy said. "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."

She dated Ashton Kutcher, who co-starred with Murphy in 2003's romantic comedy Just Married.

Kutcher posted a message on Twitter this morning about Murphy's death: "2day the world lost a little piece of sunshine," Kutcher wrote. "My deepest condolences go out 2 Brittany's family, her husband, & her amazing mother Sharon."

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