Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, December 21, 2009

A sudden sad departure for Brittany Murphy

It was quite a stunner to see the report of the death of actress Brittany Murphy yesterday;she was only 32 years old,not an age where hearing that someone has left this earth to be expected. News is still pending about how she died,so until I refuse to speculate upon the whys and wherefores of that,out of respect for her family and friends.

An unexpected death is hard to deal with,especially at this time of year when the focus on bonds between loved ones is most keenly felt. In the giving spirit of the season,I feel that it's more appropriate to take a look back at the legacy Brittany left behind in her work on more than one entertainment front.

Many of us first saw Brittany onscreen in 1995's Clueless,where she played Tai,the Harriet Smith to Alicia Silverstone's Cher in this updated version of Jane Austen's Emma.

Tai was an important piece of the parody puzzle and Brittany played it with ease,making her sweetly goofy girl character not just a teen caricature and endowing her with the lovable charm that made it all too understandable why hip chicks like Cher and Dionne wanted her in their inner circle of coolness:

She became best known as a strong supporting actress,ranging from serious mainstream dramas such as Girl,Interrupted,8 Mile and Don't Say a Word to offbeat indie fare like Spun,Cherry Falls and Sidewalks of New York.

One of her best supporting moments in film was in Sin City,the live action version of Frank Miller's gruesomely gritty graphic novels. She played Shellie,a waitress who inspired love in all the wrong places and set off a juicy plot line for Dwight(Clive Owen),her latest boyfriend with his own dark secrets to keep. Her standoff with the demented Jackie Boy(Benecio DelToro) was a mixture of bravado and vulnerability that had her dancing as fast as she could to keep up and she made damn good time,too:

Brittany didn't just play girls from the rough and tumble side of town or dippy damsels in distress. She eventually grew into some leading lady roles,many of them romantic comedies like Little Black Book where her co-stars included Oscar winners Holly Hunter and Kathy Bates or down to earth gal pal flicks like Uptown Girls with Dakota Fanning.

She even appeared in made for TV film fare,with her latest being an adaptation of a Nora Roberts novel called Tribute. Brittany played Cilla McGowan,a young woman who works on renovating her grandmother's house and winds up uncovering a mystery that explains a lot about her family's past. Not where you'd expect to see her,but like many a character actor before her,Brittany tend to turn up in very interestingly unusual places:

A number of those unexpected places were in animation. Brittany was the voice of Luanne Platter on the Mike Judge series King of The Hill(along with a few other characters on occasion)throughout it's entire run,bringing her sweet liveliness to the part of Hank's innocently ignorant niece and even receiving a nomination for an Annie Award(given to folks who work in the animation field)for her performance.

One of her major voice overs was in the animated penguin movie Happy Feet,where she also showed off her pipes as Gloria,the singing sensation that made tone deaf Mumbles(Elijah Wood)trip the light fantastic on ice. This wasn't her first foray into the music scene-Brittany had a hit dance single with Paul Oakenfold with "Faster Kill Pussycat" that was number one on the Billboard Dance Club chart and did well overseas,too.

Someone in any field who can stretch her creative wings in more than one forum and make a subtle yet special splash is a person you want to keep your eye for future developments. Unfortunately for us all,Brittany is no longer available to be in the center of the spotlight but she did leave a unique and lasting legacy for others to remember her fondly by. Sorry to see you go,Brittany,and I'm sure that wherever you are,folks are happy to have a dance party with you:

1 comment:

Ladytink_534 said...

She never was my favorite actress but I always did like her. Especially in Uptown Girls. I thought it surely must have been a mistake when I opened up