Brittany Murphy‘s shocking death in 2009 was probably written off by most people that only read the headlines as another tragic starlet dying young. Many assumed it was probably drugs or hard living that brought about the Clueless star’s untimely demise. A new documentary airing this week aims to set the record straight, but it inspires more questions than answers.
After revisiting Murphy’s early career, including the success of her breakout film, Clueless, the Investigation Discovery documentary also recalls her brief relationships with Eminem and Ashton Kutcher. As the film points out, those romances were short-lived and Murphy, it seems, was a little unlucky in love — until she met English producer and writer Simon Monjack in 2006.
A whirlwind romance led to marriage in 2007 and just two years later, the mystery surrounding the tragic deaths, first of Murphy in 2009 and then Monjack a year later, rocked Hollywood. Just before Christmas 2009, Murphy was found on the floor of her bathroom, passed out and barely clinging to life. Despite the efforts of EMS to save the actress, Brittany Murphy died a little after 10 a.m. on December 8, 2009.
Two months later, Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter of the Los Angeles coroner’s office released a report on her death. Pneumonia was listed as the primary cause, along with anemia and prescription drug intoxication. For those that only read the headlines, “drug intoxication” was all that was needed to confirm many people’s suspicions. That is, until 17 months later, almost to the day, when Simon Monjack was also found dead in the same home where Murphy was found on May 23, 2010.
Here’s where the mystery really began. Monjack’s cause of death was also pneumonia with a severe case of anemia. In the documentary, many of the important players are interviewed, including Murphy’s father, Angelo Bertolotti, who has long maintained his daughter was murdered, possibly by his ex-wife and Murphy’s mother, Sharon Murphy. The most compelling interviews come from Ed Winter, the coroner on the case.
Recounting his investigation, Winter mentions a huge amount of prescription pills, many in Monjack’s name. Frankly, a lot of allegations are made by others in the documentary, many without proof, like the claim that Murphy and Monjack were smoking crack though no cocaine was found in the toxicology report. Her career, however, did falter and many, according to the film, blamed that on Monjack and their mutual drug use.
Simon Monjack was blamed by many not only for Brittany Murphy’s career decline, but by a growing number of people for her death. Some even called it murder. Investigative journalist Mark Ebner talks viewers through the investigation from there, including many allegations made about the dark side of Monjack. Monjack’s own mother is also interviewed, and of course, she defends him and disputes the claims made by Ebner and others.
Once Monjack also died, the mystery deepened, throwing things into chaos.. How did two people die of the same aliments? Was there something, or someone, behind both deaths? The answers are still very much in the air. Angelo Bertolotti continues to blame Sharon Murphy, but in the end, the film leaves the mystery open for the viewer to decide.