Credit: Shutterstock/Brittany Murphy

I think the key to happiness is allowing ourselves to not feel bad or guilty for feeling it, and letting it be contagious. And to not be dependent on other people to create your own happiness.

An actress who charmed and beguiled audiences and critics alike, Brittany Murphy was a hugely talented film star and voice actress. She made her breakthrough in the 1995 take on Jane Austen’s Emma, Clueless, and she quickly became noted for the variety of her performances. From Eminem’s tough girlfriend in 8 Mile to an all-singing and dancing animated penguin in Happy Feet, she was a truly versatile talent.

Brittany was born in Atlanta, Georgia, and was raised by her mother after her father left when she was just 2 years old. She began learning her trade at the age of four, training in acting, dancing and singing at a local drama school. She got her first job in Hollywood aged just 13, in the sitcom Drexell’s Class and a string of other TV work followed before her big break in Clueless. She was also a keen singer, and performed in a band with fellow actor Eric Balfour in the 1990s. She managed to incorporate her talent into films when Happy Feet called for a singing penguin!

She was twice engaged before marrying her husband Simon Monjack in 2007. The two lived together with Brittany’s mother, in a house that Britney Spears had previously owned and Brittany had for some reason always thought ‘unlucky’. Tragedy the family in 2009, when Brittany suddenly died of pneumonia while taking prescription drugs to treat her condition. Her husband died in almost identical circumstances, in the same house, only four months later.