“Clueless” and “8 Mile” star Brittany Murphy’s sudden death in 2009 at the age of 32 rocked Hollywood. Much speculation followed as to the cause of her death at a young age, while it was eventually ruled as an accident. A new HBO Max documentary, “What Happened, Brittany Murphy?,” aims to go beyond the headlines to explore the screen icon’s life and death. The two-part series premieres on the streaming platform October 14. Watch the trailer below.
Here’s the synopsis, courtesy of HBO Max: “A beloved Hollywood starlet known for a number of iconic roles – gone at 32 years old. Unanswered questions, controversial figures, and surrounded by speculation: what really happened to Brittany Murphy? This two-part documentary explores her life beyond headlines, celebrating her legacy and investigating her tragic and untimely death.”
The documentary hails from Blumhouse Television and Pyramid Productions. The film is directed by Emmy nominee Cynthia Hill, best known for her 2014 documentary about domestic abuse “Private Violence,” which premiered the same year in the U.S. Documentary Competition at the Sundance Film Festival. Hill said in a statement when the project was announced in March of this year, “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. I think it’s important to celebrate Brittany’s talent as we struggle to explain the tragic circumstances of her and Simon’s deaths.”
Murphy’s death was ultimately ruled as an accident as a result of pneumonia and the effects of various over-the-counter drugs she’d consumed. But questions over her sudden passing arose when her husband, Simon Monjack, died a year later due to a combination of pneumonia and anemia.
“Our Brittany Murphy documentary cuts through the tabloid noise with an elevated, nuanced depiction of a sensational story. Crafting a grounded account of Brittany Murphy’s life struggles and sudden passing comes with great responsibility and we’ve partnered with a masterful creative team to produce a thoughtful examination of a tragedy that has long been cause for speculation.,” said Jennifer O’Connell, executive vice president of live-action family programming at HBO Max.
Murphy was beloved for other films including “Drop Dead Gorgeous,” “Girl, Interrupted,” “Riding in Cars with Boys,” “Uptown Girls,” “Don’t Say a Word,” “Little Black Book,” and more. After her breakthrough role came as Tai Frasier in “Clueless,” Murphy also starred in independent films such as “Freeway” and “Bongwater.” She was last seen in the 2010 film “Abandoned” before a posthumous role in 2014’s “Something Wicked,” which shot in 2009, the year of Murphy’s death.