The late actress Brittany Murphy walked into hearts all over America with heartwarming performances in movies like Uptown Girls as a rich girl turned nanny, Clueless as a high school outcast in desperate need of a makeover, 8 Mile as the heartbreaking love interest of Eminem, and as a “dame to kill for” in Sin City. Unfortunately the young actress’ career and life were tragically cut short in December 2009 when she died of cardiac arrest.
The actress’ death was said to be due to “natural causes” but suspicions and drama swirled around the case for years, especially after her husband, Simon Monjack, was found dead of similar causes a few months after her death. There were rumors of poisoning, mostly after her father wanted her body exhumed, and also rumors of possible mold leading to their deaths. Whatever the cause of death may be, one thing is for certain: Brittany Murphy was a beautiful and appreciated talent in Hollywood, and her presence still stands strong amongst nineties babies and other generations alike. Her characters and adorable laugh will live on forever, for our benefit, in film and photos alike. So, to walk down nostalgia lane, here are the top 15 most memorable photos of Brittany Murphy.
15. The Last Movie Premiere
This is supposedly one of the last photos ever taken of actress Brittany Murphy, just weeks before she passed away. She looks thin and almost skeleton-like. While not the most flattering photo of Murphy, this photo, as well as others from the premiere, made the rounds on the internet after her death since it was the most recent of the beautiful actress. She was on the red carpet for her role in the Indie film Across the Hall, and a few days later made her final public appearance at an event for an LA Pop-Up shop.
14. Totally Creepy Turn
Murphy was a great actress, she truly had more acting depth than some people realized. That was extremely evident in 2001 when she appeared in Don’t Say a Word as Elisabeth Burrows, a psychiatric patient who holds a valuable secret. Murphy played Burrows perfectly, almost eerily accurately. Murphy’s portrayal is that of nightmares, and played in with the thriller theme of the movie perfectly. It was definitely a change from some of the lighter characters she played, but a great acting job all the same. This is one of the stills from the movie, and one of the better examples of her acting range.
13. The Messy Makeup
Before the heartbreaking and premature end of her promising career, Brittany Murphy did a number of fun and wacky photoshoots, but one trend that seems to continue in the film industry is messed up makeup and bright lipstick, and Murphy put others to shame with this photo. It captures some of her best characteristics perfectly: the pouted lips, the big eyes, the messy hair she pulled off so beautifully and regularly. It’s that perfect level of mystery, sex appeal, beauty, and all around brilliant photography. So, it is no wonder that this is one of the most popular images of Brittany Murphy.
12. American Girl
This photo is another one that truly captures that Brittany Murphy signature hot mess look so perfectly well. She’s got her hair frazzled, bright red lipstick on her pouting lips, girl next door sex appeal in front of an American flag. After her death, the photo made its rounds on the internet, and some people even tried to use the American flag backdrop to suggest possible increased political activism before her death. We, on the other hand, just like to use it to remind everyone of the late actress’ timeless beauty.
11. Sassy Poses
After she died Interview revisited a conversation between actress Drew Barrymore and Brittany Murphy. They had multiple different photos from a shoot they did with Murphy, including this photo. In the interview she talked about success, happiness, life, and even death. The actress even talked about how she was learning to work on self preservation and not losing yourself. The belly chain, crop top, short shorts, and peace sign are so painfully early-2000’s, that you almost overlook how great she looks pulling off the sassy look. Just one of the many reasons audiences everywhere loved the charming actress.
10. Sin City Seductress
In the comic book movie Sin City we really got to see the sex appeal side of Brittany Murphy’s acting range. She played Shellie, who is a barmaid and Dwight McCarthy’s occasional girlfriend. She gets into a tight spot and the ever so lovable and manly Dwight saves her before disappearing into the city again. Before he leaves they have a moment on the fire escape. Murphy’s character looks up at Dwight while they’re talking. The angle lets the viewers see a bit more of Murphy than we’re used to and her loving, or lust-filled, gaze upwards makes it a great shot.
9. Sassy Shellie
Another ode to the brilliant plot and cinematography in Sin City, and also another shout out to the wonderful barmaid Shellie with this photo. From the same general scene as the aforementioned fire escape photo, this photo became one of the more, if not most, popular screenshots from the movie and entire film. Also, another ode to the signature Murphy hair and sexy messed up makeup. The mixture of her looks, attitude, and brandishing a knife made this a perfect photo for internet fame. Can you really blame people for making this synonymous with the Murphy name?
8. Her Uptown Overalls
Everything about this photo just screams Brittany Murphy: the floral overalls, the wide open laugh, that ear to ear smile, and gorgeous messy hair. In Uptown Girls Murphy played an entitled woman who loses her fortune and begins nannying to make ends meet. She has to deal with working and taking care of a child for the first time and it results in a lot of laughs and heartfelt moments as well. The overalls she wears in the film, with the messy up-do became synonymous with Murphy and circled the internet for ages after the film release and her death.
7. The Sin City Poster
As one of the many dangerous themed sex symbols in Sin City, Brittany Murphy was of course put on a couple of the promotional items. One of those items was this poster. As far as the innocent yet sexy look? She killed it. Also, she definitely rocked the over-sized button up and high heels look. I’m pretty sure this poster is ninety percent of why most teenage boys wanted to see the movie, at least the ones who didn’t know the story. She could definitely pull off sexy when she wanted to, and this poster proves it.
6. The Rocking Horse
As a Hollywood actress, it is expected that you will have to do some interesting or off the rocker things for photoshoots, and as a Hollywood actress you’re supposed to make those weird things look sexy. Brittany Murphy was a professional at this. This photo that made the rounds for months, if not years, is her doing just that- making the odd look sexy. She’s on a rocking horse in short shorts and cowboy boots. While extremely impractical- I mean splinters? Ouch!- she pulled it off and made it look comfortable and sexy in the process. The internet and fans everywhere thank her for it.
5. Capturing Her Smirk
She was famous in Hollywood for many things, but one of the physical aspects we all loved was her lovable and adorable smirk. This smile was the perfect level of sassy, sweet and sexy, with a little hint of mystery. This picture, taken at the premiere of Happy Feet, captures that Murphy signature look oh so perfectly. Murphy was the voice of Gloria in the film, just one of her many adorable characters. It made the rounds following her death, and is one of the more recognizable photos, as well as one of the more recognizable facial expressions of Brittany Murphy.
4. Her completely cute outfit
Audiences everywhere fell in love with Brittany Murphy when they saw her in Clueless along actress Alicia Silverstone. Murphy played lovable and helpless Tai. She came to a new high school and desperately needed help from some of the popular girls to get accustomed to her new surroundings. We as audience members, fell in love with Murphy as we watched her try new outfits, hair styles, and even change her lovable personality, only to get comfortable in her own skin at the end. This photo was one of the more popular stills from the film where we see Murphy in one of her completely cute plaid outfits, with the signature messy hair look.
3. When We Fell In Love With Her Falling in Love
Have to throw another bone to Clueless here. Murphy was famous for a few signature looks that she managed to work into almost every one of her films, and one of the big characteristics audience members loved was her big gorgeous eyes. Throughout the film, she had a crush on the outcast skater boy, but was steered away from him by her newly found friends. At the end, she goes to watch him skateboard and it is clear in her eyes how she feels. Seeing her this in love makes the audience love her even more. She has that puppy dog look that made him, and us, fall in love with her.
2. When she questioned Cher’s experience
As Tai, Murphy went through a lot of transformations in Clueless and as audience members we got to go along on her journey of self discovery and manipulation. After receiving her makeover from Cher, Tai turned into a bit of a mischievous popular girl which was pretty apparent with her attitude. When Cher tries to stop the transformation Tai shoots back and Tai/Murphy delivered one of the most memorable lines in the entire movie: “You’re a virgin who can’t drive.” Tai comes in second place, along with her sassy delivery. The line and scene were so memorable, they even have clothing and merchandise dedicated to it.
1. The 8 Mile Hand Lick
While Murphy was a cute poster-child for innocent looks and mysterious smiles in some roles, she could also play the bad girl really well. As we saw in Sin City, she could put on sexy like no other. We saw this for the first real time in 8 Mile across Eminem, one of her love interests in the movie. Eminem and Murphy’s character go upstairs in a seclusive part of the warehouse to get a little bit of, um, adult action done. Whether this made you cringe, or laugh, or who knows what else, you have to give Murphy props. This character sure was different than the innocent girl she portrayed in some of her other roles.