I will never forget the time I spent with the beautiful & talented Brittany Murphy. Out of all the actors, actresses and Hollywood types I have been fortunate enough to meet and interview over the years, none made as powerful a first impression on me the way she did.
I knew from the moment she came into my life, that she was an inspired soul with an infectious spirit. Just watching her movies over the years, you could see that energy shine on screen. I even remember at first being taken aback by her genuine kindness and enthusiasm in person, slightly confused by her warmth and positive demeanor because let’s face it, it just doesn’t come along that often. Especially in Hollywood…
We were at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah back in 2008. I was with my dear friend, Clinton Sparks at some media lounge shooting interviews when I got a tap on my shoulder. I turned around, and standing there with a smile on her face from ear to ear, was Brittany Murphy. She graciously introduced herself, (as if I didn’t know who she was and hadn’t seen her movies like Clueless, 8 Mile, Don’t Say A Word, and Sin City to name a few), and could not have been nicer or more complimentary of my work.
Mind you, I know full well that given my position as a film critic and correspondent for E! and Good Morning America, many actors will have alterior motives when speaking and interracting with me. It’s fine, it’s the nature of the beast. They will be wanting to promote their work, or hoping to charm their way to a good review, or any number of agendas that I have grown to spot from a mile away. Brittany had none of that, she was genuine and real from the moment we met.
We spoke about the films I had seen at the festival and what she was up to in Park City. She was a spokeswoman for ‘Rock The Vote’, hosting a portrait gallery with her husband, a photographer, and getting people the information they needed to register to vote. She seemed so proud, so excited, and truly happy to be working on this important project. She was appreciative for any support she received from myself, Clinton, or any of her peers who adorned the famed ‘Rock the Vote’ t-shirts for pictures.
We laughed, shared stories, and ended up hanging out all afternoon and evening as much of my work that day happened to take place in that same film lounge where we met.
My Uncle Steve, now in his 80’s, was there too. He is a member of the ‘Young at Heart’ chorus, a group of singers in their 70s and above, that cover classic rock songs from Hendrix to The Rolling Stones. They had a documentary distributed by Fox Searchlight that played that year at Sundance of the same name. I got to introduce him to Brittany and the tables turned instantly. It was as if he was the movie star, and she was the awestruk fan, asking questions and taking pictures.
She loved hearing his stories of travelling the world and got a real kick out of seeing me so proud of my family. I remember speaking with my parents the next day to share with them this amazing ‘Worlds Collide’ moment. My Uncle Steve hanging with Brittany Murphy at a Sundance party! Ha! A moment I’ll cherish always.
Brittany and I crossed paths only once again after that, when she was doing press a few months later for a film she did with Kerry Washington and Marcia Gay Harden. I would always look at the release schedule hoping to see a movie she had coming up so I would be fortunate enough to interview her again, but sadly it didn’t happen.
Brittany was truly an angel, and I would think of her often. I hope that more people, not just celebrities, would carry themselves as she did. She was engaging, humble, gracious, and downright cool.
All of us who met her and enjoyed her movies over th