Last week, we reported on new details about the sad final days of Brittany Murphy.
The information about the scene of the 32-year-old actress' death and the nature of her strange relationship with husband Simon Monjack comes courtesy of a shocking new tell-all, A Case For Murder: Brittany Murphy Files, by author Brynn Curt James Hammond.
Hammond spoke with us recently about the public fascination and ongoing mysteries surrounding Murphy's death:
THG: What drew you to the case of Brittany Murphy?
Hammond: "I had the chance to interview her on two occasions and found her a delight, but on the second occasion she seemed to have lost her spark, leaving me wondering why and what the hell happened," Hammond says of
"Then jump to December 20, morning, I was at my desk with deadlines looming and I heard the press reports she had died, and I was dumbstruck. I went back and watched some of her early work and it reignited my fascination with her.
"Over the years I always wanted to put pen to paper and celebrate her life in some way and this led to the book."
THG: What’s the number one thing you'd like people to know about Ms. Murphy's life and her final days?
Hammond: "I guess I’d like people to know that above anything else she was a huge ball of talent and if you eradicate some of her final films she was a force to be reckoned with.
"The girl had some serious talent and it’s just sad that due to certain behavior and choices she made in her later years people have forgotten that.
"She wasn’t in a good place and she really needed someone to take her under there wing and say, 'Hey, you need to cut your ties with Monjack, ditch your mom and hire a decent agent and press team.'
"Murphy had the talent and she just needed a new support network to bring her head above water and away from the piranhas. I believe she would still be here today if that had happened.
THG: You open the book with a reminder of how far Murphy’s star had fallen at the time of her passing. How big of a role do you think her declining popularity played in her death?
Hammond: "I don’t think her career played any part in her physical death. Her career didn’t kill her or allow her to become unresponsive before anyone dialed 911.
"Her career was dried up but she wasn’t. We have all seen stars who have hit rock bottom; Natasha Lyonne for example, but she’s back on top and has a healthy output of movies.
"America loves a comeback star and I believe with a bit of hard work and some damage control Brittany could have been Hollywood’s golden girl again.
"You only have to see Across the Hall, what a fantastic movie and what a great performance she turns in. She still had it in her."
THG: You’re critical of the way Murphy’s murder was handled by the press. Do you think tabloid culture has gotten better or worse in the years since her passing?
Hammond: "I wouldn’t say I was critical, more realistic. It played a part in her career decline and no sooner she was in the ground she had been forgotten, which I found very sad.
"However, I understand it’s the industry, and journalists nowadays have more than one person to compete with to get their pay check.
"I don’t think the press industry has changed, so to speak. I feel the stories are more ‘out there’ but then the stars are doing more bizarre things so they stay in the headlines for longer.
"Out of sight, out of mind as they say, and I highlight that in my book ... We are in a disposable age."
A Case For Murder: Brittany Murphy Files is available now on Amazon and other retailers.