Brittany Murphy’s dad plans to sue Lifetime for the made-for-tv movie about her life

It seems like just a few months ago that Brittany Murphy died, but that’s what usually happens with sudden celebrity deaths, they feel fresh even after a few years. It must be infinitely worse for Brittany’s family members, especially now that Lifetime is planning to make a made-for-tv movie about her life. It’s been five years since Brittany died, but since she was taken so soon in what was essentially an accident, it seems insensitive for Lifetime to do this. It turns out that the network didn’t even check with her surviving relatives first. Brittany’s dad is incredibly angry and plans to sue.

On Wednesday The Hollywood Reporter revealed actress Amanda Fuller would play the role of Murphy in the two-hour feature, The Brittany Murphy Story, which is slated to air on September 6.

But Bertolotti tells Radar he wasn’t consulted at all for the movie and doesn’t feel Lifetime has any rights to take artistic liberties with his daughter’s life.

“Lifetime has not been authorized to produce the true story of Brittany Murphy,” Bertolotti told Radar, claiming there is still an ongoing investigation — which he has launched — into her manner of death.

The coroner found cause of death with Murphy and her husband Simon Monjack (who died just five months after his wife) to be virtually identical, stating the Clueless actress died of pneumonia with secondary factors of iron-deficiency anemia and multiple prescription drug intoxication, while her British husband also died of acute pneumonia and severe anemia.

“I should have been consulted,” Bertolotti said of the movie he plans to sue for.

“I intend to litigate Lifetime in a court of law.”

Murphy, 32, was found collapsed in the bathroom of the Hollywood Hills home she shared with Monjack nearly five years ago and her father has long maintained foul play was involved in both her and Monjack’s deaths.

THR spoke with a spokesperson for the movie who said Brittany’s mother, Sharon Murphy, was also not consulted for the movie and did not cooperate with the production in any way.

[From Radar Online]

I don’t understand how Lifetime can make a movie about an actress who died just five years ago and not bother to reach out to her estate or surviving relatives. You would think that their lawyers would be on top of that at least, and I don’t blame Brittany’s dad for being pissed.

I know it’s controversial to say this, but I believe that Brittany and her husband, Simon Monjack, died of mold poisoning in that home. They both died of the same cause, pneumonia, within six months of each other while living in the same place. I think that they got poisoned by mold, took a bunch of prescription drugs trying to treat their symptoms, and eventually succumbed. That’s my theory, and that’s all it is – a theory, based on the fact that we’ve heard that there was toxic mold in the home. The coroner determined that mold wasn’t a factor in either death, however. Brittany’s mom, who also lived in the home, initially said that there was no mold there but later changed her stance and claimed that mold killed both her daughter and son-in-law. (The Wrap has a full timeline of Brittany and Simon’s deaths if you’re interested.)

Brittany’s father claims his daughter was poisoned, though. He also claims to have obtained hair samples from Brittany that tested positive for Barium, an ingredient in rat poison. Brittany’s mother calls that claim a smear. Apart from the Coroner’s findings, we may never know if Brittany and Simon died from complications from mold poisoning. The home where they lived was sold in 2011, and the buyer razed it.

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photo credit: and FameFlynet

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27 Responses to “Brittany Murphy’s dad plans to sue Lifetime for the made-for-tv movie about her life”

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  1. nico says:

    It would have been nice for Lifetime to consult the family but I don’t think they are breaking any laws. What would they sue them for? I thought you couldn’t slander a dead person. Can someone please explain?

    • Kitty says:

      Why is this idiot even bothering? He ignored her throughout her life, so why is he suddenly so involved? Besides, she led a public life, in the public domain, so he really has no grounds to sue. They’ll probably end up settling just so he’ll go away, but they are perfectly within their legal rights to make this movie.

  2. eliza says:

    I always liked Murphy. I recently saw a movie she did called The Ramen Girl and it was really a sweet movie.

    Hard to think it has been 5 yrs since she died. I always felt there was something sketchy about her mother. Odd if it was mold that killed then that the mother, who lived there, never got ill.

    I hate these Lifetime celebrity movies. The horror of the Liz and Dick disaster was enough to turn me off those movies to begin with and that horrible thing they did with Anna Nicole Smith. Sad. I could never since through those messes and look at myself the same.

    • bettyrose says:

      I adore Brittany. Ramen Girl is a great film (in a silly real life fantasy genre way). I want to know how she died because it’s terrifying that someone young, healthy, and well insured could just mysteriously die. The mold explanation is even more terrifying.

      • Annie says:

        I loved her in Ramen Girl and that Drew Barrymore flick, Riding In Cars With Boys. This lifetime movie sounds shitty though. It has Sherilynn Fenn of Twin Peaks fame in it, who is very nice looking but really cannot act.

  3. danielle says:

    That whole situation is odd. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if something more was bound behind both of their deaths. 2 relatively young people die that close together of pneumonia and anemia? Very strange.

  4. aims says:

    I don’t know if he has a case legally, but morally I think this movie is wrong. Something always felt strange about how two seemingly young, healthy people died like they did. I’d also like to add, simon’s relationship with his mother in law seemed REALLY strange to me.

  5. K says:

    I just watched Clueless again a few days ago and remembered how great she was. I loved that movie!

  6. OlyB says:

    I’ve always thought the mother had something to do with both the deaths. She seems like a very manipulative, emotionally toxic person. Brittany lived with her mother and Simon in that house. Perhaps poisoning, lacing their drugs… interesting, isn’t it, that her health was fine? And that she publicly latched into the toxic mold theory after Simon died? Remember, she shared a bed with her daughter’s husband after her death and before his. That’s not a mentally well individual who does that.

    • eliza says:

      Agreed. Always felt her mom was somehow involved. She seems like a real sicko!

      • Faun says:

        It’s disgusting that keyboard warriors can point fingers and opine “Murderer!” as easily as “They should have called in a relief pitcher in the 7th inning.”

      • eliza says:

        @Faun- At least be fair and attack others who said the same thing.

        It is sick when a mother in law sleeps in the same bed as her son in law.

    • Nicolette says:

      I’ve always been suspicious of her myself. Wasn’t she also the one who found both of them, and weren’t they both found in the same room of the house? Just too bizarre to have two young people die of the exact same thing five months apart, in the same house, in the same room, with the mother finding them both.

    • birdie says:


    • kri says:

      WHAT?! Oh, god. She shared a bed w/ him. Oh, man. Just all tragic and weird…

      • OlyB says:

        It was truly odd. When Simon died there was something put on the official police report that they slept in the same bed. She tried to spin it as them chastely sharing grief… but yeah, creepy as all hell. I think she was trying for something more subtle, like them all getting sick at the same time but only Simon dying, and Brittany was so thin that it took far less than what her mom anticipated. Or maybe the mom thought Brittany wasn’t using and put it in Simon’s drugs and then she relapsed. I’m pretty sure Simon and Brittany used together and the mom was aware of this and used their drug abuse to her advantage to manipulate herself into the relationship.

    • starrywonder says:

      Yeah I don’t believe the mold theory. I believe her mom is a crazy person and poisoned them both theory. She was sleeping in the same bed as her daughter’s husband. Maybe she got mad at him since wasn’t there a lawsuit or something going on around the time he died?

    • Christin says:

      Two words now come to mind about Brittany. Sad and strange. I read the other day that if she had gone to the hospital instead of spending days trying to treat pneumonia at home, she probably would have lived.

      In 2010, the deaths were ruled not to have mold as a contributing factor, per toxicology reports. Not sure they ever looked at lung tissue. It’s interesting that the mother lived with them and did not fall ill.

      • paranormalgirl says:

        They would have looked at lung tissue since the primary cause of death was listed to be pneumonia.

  7. M says:

    Lifetime has been going now for a long time. How can they just make an unauthorized movie about someone who has died without asking permission. Plus suppose the family doesn’t want to relive the tragedy. It is sickening how they are doing things. Aren’t they the ones doing the Aaliyah movie as well?

    • Green Girl says:

      I am surprised with Lifetime’s approach to the story, too. While I would never think of the channel as providing cinematic masterpieces, they at least would have some sort of experienced legal team who deals with this sort of stuff on the regular, right? So weird.

      I can’t believe it’s been five years since she died. Five years!

    • Kitty says:

      It’s perfectly OK for them to make a movie about a public figure. If they can make one about Laci Peterson, they can certainly do the same for Brittany.

  8. QQ says:

    IDK I recall Lainey saying she was Really on something when she saw her at a film festival months prior and indeed she looked all types of loopy, In fact, I remember clear as days her impressions of her husband, the vibe with her (even though she said she was still very sweet and nice) etc as: “I have a feeling this will end Badly”

  9. iheartjacksparrow says:

    I don’t think the father has a valid claim. Think of all the “celebrity tell-all” books that come out after someone has died. Heck, nowadays with internet dead celebrities get trashed almost from the moment they die. And I’m sure Lifetime had the script read by their attorneys.

  10. Jenny12 says:

    Maybe I’m not remembering correctly, but I thought the dad wasn’t involved in her life growing up.

    • Kitty says:

      Exactly; he’s just looking to cash in any way he can now that she’s dead. He’s a convicted mobster, you know, so he’s not exactly an ethical human being.

  11. Kerrboom says:

    Brittany Murphy was a beautiful and talented young woman. One of my favorites was her role in the movie Riding in Cars With Boys; the part where she and Drew Barrymore practice Drew’s character telling her parents she’s pregnant, Brittany was so funny. Her looks have the appearance of a classic beauty, like an actress from the 1920′s. Such a tragic death.