So Long, Funny Girl
By Alex Wilburn
You little ferret!
Long before she was a blonde Hollywood starlet, Murphy was born to us through ABC's TGIF (Thank Goodness It's Friday) -- that irresistibly goofy, curly haired Jersey girl who laughed like a helium balloon mixed with a woodchipper. There was no one as fearlessly funny and strange. On Friday nights we watched her fawn over Boy Meet World's Ben Savage, make a ruckus in the Torkleson house, and even visit The Salingers on Party of Five. We watched her dying for a makeover in Clueless, back when we thought the only place anyone in the world went to high school was in Beverly Hills, and when we were feeling dark and mature, we watched as she played the patient who just didn't make it in Girl Interrupted. Eat in chicken? You mean kitchen?
That's what I SAID ashole!
But before the biopic with Eminem, before she told Michael Douglas that she, well, wouldn't tell, and before the Dakota Fanning and the Ashton Kutcher movies, what I and many my friends will think of when we recall this young actress, is her role with Kirsten Dunst in Drop Dead Gorgeous: that wacky, dark haired girl next door with that indescribable horse giggle, that pitch perfect timing. Ohmygoditswhatshername would so quickly turn into, man, Brittany Murphy can always nail joke.
I fell in love with the Big Apple last summer when I was visiting my brother Peter there. He followed his dream all the way to New York. Wait, this is [a photo of] Peter as Liza. This is him as Madonna. And this? This...is Barbara. Listen, I'm not going to win. We both know that. A family only needs one Liza and my brother has better legs. C'mon [my parents] love me...and... you know they only had me because Peter needed that kidney?
Peter never would have pulled a stunt like this.
Well you know what Dad? Peter's gay...GAY!
Silly as it may sound, I often like to imagine those who have passed finding good company from the other-side, sharing a drink with Ernest Hemingway or comparing marriages with Zelda Fitzgerald. So I hope that somewhere Brittany Murphy and the late Bea Arthur have found each other in that cocktail lounge in the sky and are making each other howl. What a strange pair they would make. Funny girls.
-- ALEX WILBURN
Previously > 16 Years Without River Phoenix