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Actress Brittany Murphy collapses, dies at 32

Brittany Murphy, who appeared in Clueless and 8 Mile, poses with screenwriter husband Simon Monjack.

Associated Press (2007)

Brittany Murphy, who appeared in Clueless and 8 Mile, poses with screenwriter husband Simon Monjack.

LOS ANGELES — Brittany Murphy, the actress who got her start in the sleeper hit Clueless and rose to stardom in 8 Mile before her movie roles declined in recent years, died Sunday in Los Angeles of what appeared to be natural causes, a Los Angeles County coroner'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 "it appears to be natural," Winter said. He said an autopsy was planned for today or Tuesday.

Winter said Murphy's family was cooperating with the coroner's investigation. Funeral arrangements have not been announced, he said.

Los Angeles police have opened an investigation into Murphy's death, Officer Norma Eisenman said. Detectives and coroner's officials were at Murphy and Monjack's home Sunday afternoon but did not talk to reporters. Paparazzi were camped outside the multistory home, above the Sunset Strip.

Messages left for Murphy's manager and agent by the Associated Press were not immediately returned.

TMZ.com first reported Murphy's death Sunday morning.

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," Bertolotti said from his northern 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.

Murphy's publicist, Nicole Perna, said in a statement: "In this time of sadness, the family thanks you for your love and support. It is their wish that you respect their privacy."

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 Girl, Interrupted, Clueless and 8 Mile.

Her on-screen work had lessened of late, 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 film, The Expendables, set for release next year.

Her role in 8 Mile led to more recognition, Murphy told 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."

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

"2day the world lost a little piece of sunshine," Kutcher wrote in a tweet on Twitter.

Actress Brittany Murphy collapses, dies at 32 12/20/09 [Last modified: Sunday, December 20, 2009 10:56pm]
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