Brittany Murphy’s Hip-Hop Legacy

Sad news out of Hollywood today, as actress Brittany Murphy — the star of modern classics like “Clueless” and “8 Mile” — passed away at the age of 32. The details remain incomplete, but there is a report that she was admitted to Los Angeles’ Cedars Sinai Hospital in full cardiac arrest. Celebrity friends — including co-stars Ashton Kutcher (“Just Married”) and Alicia Silverstone (“Clueless”) — are already weighing in with reactions to the tragic news.

Murphy got her first big break in 1995’s “Clueless,” the Amy Heckerling-directed California adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Emma.” The film was a huge hit, as was the soundtrack that featured Radiohead, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Supergrass, Counting Crows and Smoking Popes. In one of the movie’s definitive scenes, she raps along to Coolio’s “Rollin’ With My Homies” and does a little arm dance that ended up becoming associated with both the song and with Murphy.

That wasn’t Murphy’s only run-in with hip-hop. A few years later, she had another huge breakout in “8 Mile,” in which she played the object of Eminem’s affection in the semi-biographical flick about Marshall Mathers’ life before fame. She doesn’t do any of her own MC’ing in that movie, though she does appear in the video for “Lose Yourself,” the smash single from the film.


Murphy also appeared in hits like “Sin City,” “Girl, Interrupted,” “Little Black Book” and “Happy Feet.” She also had a steady gig as a voice on “King of the Hill.” But both “Clueless” and “8 Mile” — two films dependent on music that defined two eras — will be her legacy.