As Los Angeles wound down into the hush of the holiday season, so too did a silence descend on that season’s biggest Hollywood story, the tragic death of Brittany Murphy from still unknown causes.
There were vitually no datelines, blogs or fantic updates about the the Christmas Eve funeral. Either the media was filled with holiday cheer or was too exhausted by its own round-the-clock coverage of Murphy.
In this case, the actress benefited from both timing and location.
About two dozen friends and family members attended the very private service at Forest Lawn Memorial Park’s Hollywood Hills cemetery. Services began in the Church of the Hills around 3:30 p.m. and ended with her interment in the property’s Bright Eternity section.
Media was not permitted to cover the ceremonies.
Earlier in the day, a Murphy friend, entertainment journalist Alex Ben Block, told the N.Y. Daily News that mourners would include Murphy’s husband, Simon Monjack, director Penny Marshall and Murphy’s good friend, actor Eric Balfour, who was also announced to be a pallbearer.
Block said a Christian minister and a rabbi would preside over the ceremonies.
Murphy’s father, Angelo Bertolotti, remained in Florida, and told E! News he did not realize his daughter had been ill and emotionally troubled.
The small, somber gathering provided a stark contrast to — and respite from — the storm of media speculation as to what caused the 32-year-old star of "Clueless" and "8 Mile" to suffer fatal cardiac arrest last Sunday.
Police and coroner’s investigators reportedly found a large inventory of prescription drugs in Murphy’s name at the Hollywood Hills home she shared with Monjack, and there have been suggestions that a combination of the medications, which included such opiods and benzodiazepines as Topamax, Klonopin, Ativan and Hydrocodone, could have been responsible for her death.
A larger memorial reportedly will be held next month for more of Murphy’s friends, although it’s not yet been announced if that event will be open to Murphy’s fans.