Sadly, we’re almost getting used to this: We hear that a young, talented performer has died, and after an initial burst of disbelief (couldn’t this just be an Internet rumor?), we accept, note a flurry of YouTube tributes, and move on. But let’s take a moment to remember Brittany Murphy, who died this weekend at the age of 32, and to appreciate the guileless, raspy-voiced charm she brought to her best role: new girl Tai in “Clueless,” played when Murphy was still in her teens. Round-faced and bright-eyed, she brought a funny, vaguely out-of-it spin to all of her lines, and her happy, wriggly little dance upon being made over by new friends Cher and Dionne was utterly irresistible. Remember: “Why should I listen to you? You’re a virgin who can’t drive“? And “I hope not sporadically!”
Though Murphy’s career had its ups and downs post-“Clueless,” she was often a radiant presence, particularly in “8 Mile” opposite Eminem. Like Heath Ledger and far too many others, she’s gone far too soon.
The “Clueless” trailer; featuring Murphy looking sweetly lost in an oversized plaid shirt.