What Brittany Murphy's Clueless Co-Stars Say She Was Really Like

In 2009, Hollywood was rocked by news of actor Brittany Murphy's death at age 32. Murphy was beloved by many of her fellow actors, and the fact that a coroner later revealed her death could have been prevented only added to the tragedy. "Murphy was planning on seeing a doctor, but she unfortunately passed away before she did," Assistant Chief Ed Winter told People in 2010. "This was a case of a person with pneumonia who was anemic (having a low blood count), who was taking medication when she should've been getting medical treatment."

Upon hearing the news of her death, tributes poured in. "2day the world lost a little piece of sunshine," Murphy's ex-boyfriend Ashton Kutcher tweeted (via Glamour UK), passing along his condolences to her whole family. Jessica Simpson followed suit, calling Murphy "an incredible ray of light to so many people," but it was the tributes from Murphy's "Clueless" co-stars that really stuck out. Alicia Silverstone, who played Cher Horowitz in the film alongside Murphy's Tai Frasier, said she "always felt connected to [Brittany] as we shared a very special experience in our lives together." Silverstone went on to say that despite falling out of touch with Murphy, she "loved working with [her]. She was so talented, so warm, and so sweet."

These sentiments were echoed by many of the other "Clueless" actors, whose tributes to their friend showed how Murphy's death left a hole in their lives.

Brittany Murphy was incredibly talented

If you're wondering what Brittany Murphy was really like, you might want to ask her "Clueless" co-stars. Breckin Meyer, who played Murphy's onscreen crush in the rom-com, also acted alongside Murphy previously. "Brittany and I played boyfriend and girlfriend in a couple things," he told People in 2023. Meyer was privately hoping Murphy nabbed the part because of their friendship, but objectively she was a shoo-in. Meyer explained that he'd thought, "'I don't know if I'm going to get the part, but if you don't make the movie with [Murphy], don't make the movie.' She's that great. She was." He added that even today, he thinks "about what she'd be doing now because of how talented she was. ... Brittany could sing like nobody's business, and I look at things like [how] they're doing the movie 'Wicked' now. I ... think Brittany would be killing this stuff right now."

Meyer's take on the late actor's talent is pretty much a universal one. In 2020, Alicia Silverstone told Vogue that she knew right away Murphy was a star. Along with the "Clueless" stars, the film's director was in awe of Murphy's talent. "We saw a lot of people for the part of Tai, and I felt like everybody was kind of acting it as opposed to just feeling it. And when Brittany came in, she was just genuine," Amy Heckerling recalled in the HBO documentary, "What Happened, Brittany Murphy?" (via E! News). "She just felt... exactly what I was looking for."

Brittany Murphy was the sweetest

As well as her talent, Brittany Murphy's remembered for her kind heart. In HBO's "What Happened, Brittany Murphy?" director Cynthia Hill made it clear this was a sticking point (via Variety). Hill explained that one of Murphy's former managers told her Murphy was always happy for others' success. For example, when someone else got a role Murphy had auditioned for, "Brittany would always say, 'Oh, she's so perfect for that role. Oh my gosh, that's so great; I'm so happy for her.' When most of us, I think probably any of us, would think about ourselves first," Hill said.

Everyone else recognized this sweetness in her spirit, too. "[Brittany] was just always so smiley and sweet," her "Clueless" co-star Paul Rudd said, per People. The word "sweet" also cropped up in Elisa Donovan's — who played Amber Mariens in the movie — memories of Murphy. "I always think of [Brittany] like a hummingbird. She just was an incredibly talented girl with a great spirit," Donovan added.

However, some believe it was Murphy's sweet spirit and naiveté that ultimately led to her death. Hill's "What Happened, Brittany Murphy?" muses whether Murphy's sweetness attracted her husband, Simon Monjack, and gave him free rein over her life. It's been speculated that Monjack had an indirect hand in Murphy's death by not taking care of her, per USA Today. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles coroner's office maintains that her death was a tragic accident.