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Brittany Murphy Dies of Heart Attack at 32

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood December 20, 2009 at 7:54AM

Actress Brittany Murphy has died of a heart attack. She was 32. TMZ broke the news, per usual, reporting that her husband made the 911 call. LA firefighters responded, performing CPR after she collapsed in the shower at her West Hollywood home. She was pronounced dead of cardiac arrest at Cedar Sinai Medical Center.
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Thompson on Hollywood

Actress Brittany Murphy has died of a heart attack. She was 32. TMZ broke the news, per usual, reporting that her husband made the 911 call. LA firefighters responded, performing CPR after she collapsed in the shower at her West Hollywood home. She was pronounced dead of cardiac arrest at Cedar Sinai Medical Center.

Murphy had suffered a string of career setbacks. In late November, she was replaced by Rachelle Lefevre on the set of her most recent movie, The Caller, which was shooting her Puerto Rico. She was described as disruptive, while her rep cited "creative differences." And after Murphy was cast in Sylvester Stallone's The Expendables, her role was later written out. UPDATE: The Wrap reports that the actress was "barely there" during filming of Something Wicked, citing excessive drug use.

Most recently the actress starred in the noirish thriller Across the Hall, which opened in limited release December 4. In her last successful outing, she voiced Gloria in 2006's animated film Happy Feet. She appeared in Robert Rodriguez's Sin City and will be best remembered for her turns in 8 Mile, Clueless, Riding in Cars with Boys and her breakout performance in Girl, Interrupted in 1999. According to Flickchart, her best-liked films were Sin City, Clueless and Girl, Interrupted.

Many of those attending the Independent Spirit Awards in 2003 remember her spectacularly inept reading of her cards as a presenter. While Roger Ebert was enchanted, thinking she had improvised brilliantly, most of us were aghast at a glimpse of an actress not entirely in control.

Several upcoming indie prods starring Murphy are in the can: Abandoned opposite Dean Cain, and Darin Scott's Something Wicked. Neither lists a distributor at this time.

This article is related to: Obit


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.