Sharon Murphy is the mother of the late actress Brittany Murphy, who passed away in 2009 when she was just 32 years old. The coroner determined she had died of natural causes. But her death has long inspired intrigue and family members, including her father and brother, speculated she may have been murdered.
Brittany Murphy’s death is investigated in the new special Brittany Murphy: An ID Mystery. It premiered May 26 at 9/8c. According to the press release from ID, the episode “revisits the case from a whole new angle to examine the truth behind Brittany’s heartbreaking demise.”
Here’s what you need to know about Sharon Murphy:
1. Sharon Murphy Found Her Daughter Passed Out In the Bathroom & the ID Special Includes the 911 Call
Sharon Murphy lived with her daughter and Brittany’s husband, Simon Monjack. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the mother-daughter duo purchased the Hollywood Hills mansion together in 2003 from Brittany Spears. Los Angeles County property records confirm the Murphys bought the house for $3.85 million.
It was Sharon Murphy who found Brittany passed out in the bathroom on December 20, 2009. The trailer for the Brittany Murphy: An ID Mystery special includes a portion of Murphy’s frantic 911 phone call. She is heard wailing in anguish and screaming for her daughter to wake up.
Murphy: Somebody’s passed out.”
Dispatcher: Somebody what?
Murphy: Somebody’s – my daughter’s passed out. Please get here quick. Please.
Dispatcher: I’ll get somebody out there, ok. Is she awake?
Murphy: Please, no!
Dispatcher: Is she breathing?
Murphy: No! Brittany, please come back!
2. Sharon Murphy Denied Speculation She Shared a Bed With Son-In-Law Simon Monjack
Brittany Murphy’s husband, Simon Monjack, died on May 23, 2010. The coroner’s office ruled he had died in the same manner as his late wife, which was a result of acute pneumonia and severe anemia.
The autopsy report into Monjack’s death sparked speculation about whether the screenwriter had shared a bed with his mother-in-law, Sharon Murphy, after Brittany died. TMZ, citing the Los Angeles County report, reported in 2010 that when going through the master bedroom with investigators, Sharon Murphy had referred to one side of the bed as “her side of the bed.” The website also claimed there were prescription bottles in the room with the names “Sharon Murphy” and “Sharon Monjack.” TMZ added that the report “doesn’t suggest sexual contact between the two.”
But Sharon Murphy said she was misunderstood. In a statement to E! News, Murphy insisted that when she said “her side of the bed,” she was referring to her daughter rather than herself.
She told the network, “I am suffering from the most unimaginable loss, and ask that they stop this inexcusable behavior and their quest to produce more mental anguish upon me.” Murphy also insisted that the prescription bottle was not made out to a “Sharon Monjack.”
3. Murphy Disputes the Notion Her Daughter Could Have Been Poisoned & Accused Brittany’s Father of Trying to Profit From the Theory
Sharon Murphy does not believe her daughter, Brittany, could have been murdered. She explained her reasoning in an op-ed in the Hollywood Reporter in 2013. In the piece, she accused Brittany’s father, Angelo Bertolotti, of attempting to profit off Brittany’s name by touting the unproven theory that Brittany may have been poisoned. Murphy disputed that theory:
In light of the recent publicity about a lab test Angelo had done, I have asked some knowledgeable people, and they tell me that an analysis from a sample of hair is not considered dependable unless it is backed up by tests of tissue and blood and other analysis — which he did not do (the coroner did, but they show no similar results). I am also told one lab may give different results than another lab in terms of heavy metals, and the proper method requires multiple tests before any results are released.
The lab Angelo used, if you can call it that, is an Internet site that farmed out the actual testing and then wrote horribly untrue things under the guise of “analysis.” It mentioned rat poison as a possible cause and claimed to be able to say that a third party murdered my beloved daughter.
To even mention that the heavy metals that were listed in his test are in rat poison, leading to articles suggesting Brittany ingested that or anything like it, is absurd. If she had, don’t you think it would have shown up in the coroner’s test of her blood and tissue? A reputable expert will tell you that what this lab did is an ethical violation of the highest order; to even pretend to be able to draw such conclusions on unreliable evidence is the real crime.
4. Sharon Murphy Sold the Hollywood Hills Home In 2011 & It Was Later Demolished
Sharon Murphy was the sole owner of the Hollywood Hills mansion after her daughter died. Following Brittany’s death, Murphy struggled to sell the 8,000 square-foot home. The property nearly went to auction before it was finally sold in 2011 for $2.7 million.
Brittany’s husband, Simon Monjack, gave a tour of the house after her death. That footage is included in the Brittany Murphy: An ID Mystery special. In the trailer, Monjack was seen going through Brittany’s clothing and showed the room where Brittany was found.
But that house no longer stands. It was demolished soon after Murphy sold it. A new, larger mansion was built at the site and construction was completed in 2016. Zillow estimated the property is now worth more than $14.5 million.
5. Sharon Murphy Raised Brittany As a Single Mother In New Jersey
In the 2013 Hollywood Reporter editorial, Sharon Murphy explained that she raised Brittany as a single parent. She wrote that Brittany’s biological father, Angelo Bertolotti, had been out of the picture since Brittany was a toddler.
Murphy wrote that she didn’t feel Bertollotti had the right to comment about Brittany or speculate about her death. She claimed Bertolotti reemerged in Brittany’s life after she began to have success as an actress but that the two did not have a relationship:
Angelo did come out of the woodwork when Brittany was a teenager and found success in a number of TV shows just before she was in Clueless. But she quickly saw him for who he is — and didn’t want anything to do with him. He now claims to have had a few meetings with Brittany over the years where he took the occasional photograph, but those must have been brief moments because I was there with her most of the time at home and when she was working — and he was never, ever around. He has admitted he did not see her at all during the final three years of her too-short life.
Murphy raised her daughter in Edison, New Jersey. The late actress attended Herbert Hoover Middle School before she began to pursue an acting career at age 14. Angelo Orlando, the president of the Edison Arts Society at the time of her death, praised Brittany to NJ.com. “She was just a young, beautiful, vivacious lady. She seemed to have such a long future in front of her then.”