I don't take in late night television too much anymore, which actually follows a pattern I have throughout the rest of the day. If it's not sports, or a special about the JFK assassination, I pretty much don't watch it.
But I happened upon the David Letterman show a few years ago---I remember this distinctly---and I was taken by the bubbly, perky young woman chatting up Dave to the audience's, and Dave's, bemusement.
She was breezy without appearing loaded. Engaging without being ditzy. She just seemed like a lot of fun; there was nothing bimbo about her. It wasn't very long after that when I caught her in a movie with Ashton Kutcher, a comedy called "Just Married." She was terrific in it.
That's how I remember Brittany Murphy.
Murphy, who died suddenly at age 32 yesterday in California, wasn't typically mentioned when the discussion turned to America's finest young actors. She had her moments, though.
There was her turn in "8 Mile," as Eminem's love interest; "Don't Say a Word," in which she played a young girl suffering from post traumatic stress, who holds the clue to another girl's abduction; "Love and Other Disasters," in which she played a matchmaker at Vogue magazine; "Girl, Interrupted," when she played a sexually abused mental hospital patient; and over 200 episodes as the voice of Luanne Platter in Fox's animated "King of the Hill."
That, plus "Just Married," a comedy about a newlywed couple and their misadventures on their honeymoon in Europe.
Brittany Murphy: 1977-2009
No, she may not have been recognized as one of this country's best at her craft, but she was only 32 and she's dead and that tragedy supercedes everything.
2009 has been unkind when it comes to celebrity deaths---both in terms of their lives and their reputations. Things got off to a bad start with the Natasha Richardson skiing accident early in the year and that, sadly, set the tone.
Just last week, we lost NFL player Chris Henry at age 26 after he fell out of a truck during a domestic dispute. And we lost the Tiger Woods that we thought we knew, to multiple instances of philandering. Michael Jackson was lost, largely thanks to an inner circle who looked the other way and doctors who were too mealy to take a stand.
So the latest is Brittany Murphy, who by all accounts was the light that lit up any room in which she occupied. This, according to those who knew her best.
I found her to be very refreshing when I saw her on Letterman's show.
I'm not going to go too heavy-handed here because I knew little about Murphy, other than what I've mentioned. But I thought she was a pretty damn good actor.
But you don't have to know someone to know that, at 32, they've gone too soon.
Murphy's bio at www.imdb.com says she's due to be seen in no less than five movies in 2010 and beyond, that have already been completed. So you'll get a chance to see her perform again. There's that, at least.