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Taryn Manning recalls Brittany Murphy’s spirit, says she didn’t have ‘a mean bone in her body’

Taryn Manning has nothing but fond memories of her time spent with her “8 Mile” co-star Brittany Murphy, who died in 2009.

The late actress, known for her roles in “Clueless,” “Uptown Girls,” “Little Black Book,” and more, is being profiled in an upcoming HBO Max documentary titled “What Happened, Brittany Murphy?”

The series explores the mystery surrounding Murphy’s death and Manning is among the stars that appear in it. Speaking to People magazine for this week’s cover issue, Manning recalled Murphy’s many positive attributes.

“She loved to dance and have fun and was nice to everyone,” Manning, 42, told the magazine.


She added that Murphy was a “true star” with a “beautiful spirit.”

“What Happened, Brittany Murphy?” promises to reveal “chilling details” about the star’s final days. It also explores Murphy’s relationship with her husband, British screenwriter and producer Simon Monjack. The series will start streaming on October 14.

Brittany Murphy is photographed here with her husband, British screenwriter Simon Monjack. Monjack died in 2010.

Brittany Murphy is photographed here with her husband, British screenwriter Simon Monjack. Monjack died in 2010.
( (Photo by ANDREAS BRANCH/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)     )

Manning and Murphy worked alongside one another when they both filmed “8 Mile.” Manning, who earlier this year voiced support for another one of her former co-stars, Britney Spears, added that Murphy was nothing but kind.

“I don’t think Brittany had a mean bone in her body,” she said, adding that she will be remembered as “free-spirited, whimsical and full of laughter.”

The show, produced by Blumhouse Television, includes interviews with Monjack’s mother, Linda, and brother, James, as well as his former fiancée Elizabeth Ragsdale, who alleged he lied to her about who he was, the magazine reported on Wednesday.

The “Clueless” star died in 2009 from a combination of pneumonia, anemia and multiple drug intoxication from prescription and over-the-counter medications. She was 32. Monjack passed away five months later from similar causes at age 40.


Makeup artist Trista Jordan, who worked with Murphy on her last film, 2009’s “Something Wicked,” also came forward for the special. She claimed Murphy’s appearance in her final months was shocking.

Taryn Manning said Brittany Murphy'loved to dance and have fun and was nice to everyone.'

Taryn Manning said Brittany Murphy’loved to dance and have fun and was nice to everyone.’
(Gustavo Caballero/Paras Griffin)

“Her eyes were so sunken, and she just seemed so sad,” Jordan told the outlet. “She wasn’t herself. She was in so much pain. She had Bambi legs and couldn’t stand up.”

Cynthia Hill, the director behind the documentary, said her research on Monjack raised red flags during filming.

“He was a disturbed individual who was used to conning people and Brittany was one of his last victims,” she claimed. “There was a pattern of behavior that became very obvious the more research that we did.”

In 2020, Investigation Discovery (ID) also revisited the star’s case in a documentary titled “Brittany Murphy: An ID Mystery.” It featured the last interview made by Angelo Bertolotti, Murphy’s father, before his death in 2019 at age 92. 

The patriarch had previously cast doubt on the conclusion that his famous daughter died of natural causes. Forensic pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht, who was brought in by Bertolotti to investigate Murphy’s death, also participated in that documentary.

Fox News’ Stephanie Nolasco and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Melissa Roberto covers entertainment at You can reach her at


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