The question of whether actress Brittany Murphy was murdered or not will not be put to rest by the Lifetime biopic The Brittany Murphy Story, about the life and death of actress Brittany Murphy that was shown on Saturday, September 6, at 8:00 p.m. It is an unauthorized film, made without the permission of her family, so there have been many questions about how accurate its portrayal of Murphy’s life is, not to mention that it has almost universally been criticized by everyone in the media who has gotten a chance to check it out in advance.
The review of the biopic by Variety, below, is an example of the overall reviews it has been getting. One of the comments that the astute Variety reviewer, Geoff Berkshire, wrote was “As biopics go, it makes Lifetime’s recent “Anna Nicole” look like ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter.'” He is a person who certainly does not mince his words, but tells it like it is, when it comes to reviewing movies and TV programs.
Brittany Murphy, who died on December 20, 2009, at the age of 32, acted in movies like 8 Mile (Alex), Sin City (Shellie), The Ramen Girl (Abby), and Clueless (Tai) and she did the voice of Gloria in Happy Feet. To fans of the popular cartoon series, King of the Hill, though, the actress was perhaps best-known as doing the voice of the characters Luanne Platter, Joseph Gribble, and the hand puppet Obadiah the Donkey.
One family member who is particularly peeved that Lifetime made the unauthorized biopic about Brittany Murphy is her father, Angelo Joseph Bertolotti. Her father has some definite views about Brittany’s untimely passing and he is planning on writing a book about his daughter’s life.
The official cause listed for Brittany Murphy’s death is pneumonia. While there is no outright evidence that Murphy was murdered, she did have traces of Vicodin in her bloodstream, along with over-the-counter cold medicine. These medications in her system could be explained by the fact that she had pneumonia.
An odd thing about her death is that her husband, Simon Monjack, passed about about six months later in the exact same house of the same cause: pneumonia. Both cases are closed, but while it could just be a coincidence and probably is, there have been a lot of theories and rumors about these two deaths of the same apparent natural cause.
Her father, Bertolotti, among others, believes that both his daughter and her husband were the victims of murder. Not only does he believe that they were both murdered, but in 2013, in an interview with People, he claimed that the person who committed the murders used poison. Bertolotti alleges that Brittany and Simon Monjack were murdered by Brittany’s mother, Sharon Murphy.
Sharon Murphy has countered these accusations by saying in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that Bertolotti was not very much in his daughter’s life, even though he is her biological father. Sharon said that she raised her daughter with little support from Bertolotti and added that she and Brittany were close and had a strong bond with each other. However, in response to the interview and what Sharon said about him, Bertolotti tweeted photos of him with Brittany which apparently shows that he was in his daughter’s life more than Sharon wants to admit.
Sharon said that when the photos were taken of Brittany and her father during her teenage years, her daughter saw Bertolotti for “who he is — and didn’t want anything to do with him.” Though Sharon Murphy has stated that Lifetime never contacted her and that she was not involved in the production of the biopic, The Brittany Murphy Story depicts the close sort of relationship that she has said that she had with her daughter. No actor playing Bertolotti is ever shown in the film.
With zero input from either Sharon Murphy or Angelo Bertolotti, it is difficult to determine exactly how accurate the Lifetime biopic is in portraying the life of Brittany Murphy. An unfortunate aspect of the biopic for the actress Lifetime chose to play Brittany Murphy, Amanda Fuller (Last Man Standing) is, according to Geoff Berkshire, of Variety, that there is “no obvious physical resemblance” between Fuller and Brittany. He does not seem to blame Fuller, but rather the casting of her and “the severe limitations of the production.”
Was Brittany Murphy murdered, or not? That question is not answered by the Lifetime biopic, The Brittany Murphy Story, though it is probably much more likely that she died of pneumonia. She was a much-loved actress who tragically passed away at a young age. Perhaps a better way to remember Brittany Murphy would be to rent Clueless and another great movie she was in, The Ramen Girl, and watch them, or watch King of the Hill.
Written By Douglas Cobb