Brittany Murphy’s Life and Death to Be Explored in Two-Part HBO Max Documentary

The actress, best known for films like "Clueless" and "8 Mile," died suddenly in 2009.
Little Black Book
Brittany Murphy in "Little Black Book"
Columbia/Everett Collection

HBO Max has ordered a two-part documentary about the late actor Brittany Murphy, best known for voicing Luanne Platter in “King of the Hill” and for starring in films like “Clueless” and “8 Mile.” The documentary hails from Blumhouse Television and Pyramid Productions and aims to present a detailed portrait of Murphy’s life, career, and unexpected death amid mysterious circumstances in 2009 when she was only 32. The series, yet to be titled, will work to debunk conspiracy theories and go beyond the tabloid headlines, with new interviews with those closest to Murphy, along with never-before-seen archival footage.

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, “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.

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