Still tear up when you’re watching Clueless?

You’re certainly not alone on that one, or when you watch a wealth of other Brittany Murphy movies for that matter.

Born in 1977, the American actress won over the hearts of audiences for her performances across the likes of 8 Mile, Girl, Interrupted, Just Married, Cherry Falls, and beyond.

However, she broke through with the role of Tai Frasier in Clueless, which arguably remains her most iconic role. Whenever you watch the nineties teen classic, you can’t help but cast your mind back to her tragic passing.

The star sadly died on December 20th 2009 at the young age of 32, breaking the hearts of family, friends, and fans across the world.

Even after all this time, curiosity and mystery remain, which is why audiences are hotly anticipating the forthcoming HBO Max documentary, aptly titled What Happened, Brittany Murphy?

Echoing the title, we’re here to ask… what happened to Brittany Murphy?

Photo by Michael Bezjian/WireImage

What happened to Brittany Murphy?

The cause of death was ruled pneumonia and combined drug intoxication. It was officially ruled an accident, although many believed the circumstances of her passing were suspicious.

Reflecting on the initial autopsy report, iron-deficiency anemia was noted as a factor too, and it’s important to acknowledge that no traces of illegal substances were discovered in her blood.

In the events that led up to her death, Brittany, her husband – Simon Monjack – and her mother flew out to Puerto Rico in November 2009. She had a part on a film named Caller, although she quit the project after just one day, with producers attempting to ban Simon from disrupting the set while he was intoxicated.

Despite these claims, Simon would later allege that Brittany actually quit because she was fooled into thinking the film was a thriller when it was in fact a horror.

With no film to shoot anymore, the three nevertheless remained in Puerto Rico, making it a holiday of sorts. After eight days they returned home but Simon was so ill on the plane after he and Brittany’s mother came down with Staphylococcus aureus – a bacteria that causes staph infections – that he was rushed to hospital after an emergency landing.

Back home, both he and Brittany were then treated for pneumonia and she was sick until the morning of December 20th, the day she took a fall on the balcony of her mansion in the Hollywood Hills.

Offering her insight, Brittany’s mother explained that “she was lying on the patio trying to catch her breath.” She “said ‘Baby, get up,’” and her daughter replied “‘Mommy, I can’t catch my breath. Help me. Help me.’”

Later that morning, Brittany collapsed again in the bathroom before being taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

“I think it’s important to celebrate Brittany’s talent”

If you remember, there was actually a documentary just recently called Brittany Murphy: An ID Mystery, as well as a LIfetime movie, The Brittany Murphy Story.

However, the HBO Max two-parter is set to be different with new information. It was directed by Cynthia Hill, who said that she agreed to come aboard the project to shine a light on the talent and person, not necessarily just her end:

“I agreed to do this film because I think it’s a shame that Brittany’s promising life and career has been eclipsed by the circumstances of her death as we struggle to explain the tragic circumstances of her and Simon’s deaths.”

Britney vs Spears | Official Trailer | Netflix

Britney vs Spears | Official Trailer | Netflix

Looking into Simon Monjack

The documentary also considers Brittany’s relationship with her husband, who actually died five months after his wife under similar causes.

What Happened explores his past, looking into his relationship with Elizabeth Ragsdale, his former fiancée. After she became pregnant he wished for her to relocate to the US togfive birth.

However, Elizabeth has said that she arrived in New York and he left her “pregnant and abandoned.” This is discussed in the documentary and the director has already argued that “he was a disturbed individual who was used to conning people and Brittany was one of his last victims. There was a pattern of behavior that became very obvious the more research that we did.”

What Happened, Brittany Murphy? Hits HBO Max on Thursday, October 14th 2021.

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