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Dec. 21 2009 - 10:03 am | 775 views | 1 recommendation | 4 comments

The new celebrity eulogy: RIP Brittany Murphy @Twitter

Shortly after reports surfaced of Brittany Murphy’s death, celebrities came out of the woodwork to express their shock, sympathy and sorrow.  It wasn’t for Access Hollywood or ET, it wasn’t even for TMZ.  No lights, no makeup, no PR flack standing by mouthing along with the pre-written  “Hollywood lost a bright star too soon” obligatory condolence line.

Celebrities took to their keyboards and, in 140 characters or less, responded in a natural – yet somehow uncomfortable – display on Twitter.

Ashton Kutcher actually dated Brittany Murphy.   Here’s his twitter message:

ashton kutcher on brittany murphy 12-21-2009 8-16-10 AM

Ashton Kutcher on Brittany Murphy via Twitter

So, kind of cool to see Ashton’s acknowledgement, but also kind of…shallow.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s nicely written with sincerity and all, but this is all Brittany gets from someone who dated her?  He did dedicate two tweets to her, so I suppose that’s something.

Alyssa Milano worked with Brittany once.  Only once and it was six years ago, which may explain why she spells Brittany as Brittney.

alyssa milano on brittany murphy 12-21-2009 8-19-35 AM

Alyssa Milano on Brittany Murphy via Twitter

Russell Simmons met Brittany a really long time ago, before she was even famous.  That’s probably why he spelled her name wrong.

russell simmons on brittany murphy 12-21-2009 8-44-21 AM

Russell Simmons on Brittany Murphy via Twitter

I’m all for Twitter, all for eliminating the line between celebrity beings and human beings.  So, on the one hand, it’s encouraging to see the rich and famous speaking out on their own terms.  On the other hand, though, it seems disrespectful to spell her name wrong.   Not typo wrong, but  can’t-be-bothered-to-look-it-up wrong.  At least Kim Kardashian is honest about what Brittany Murphy meant to her (while still spelling her name wrong):

kim kardashian on brittany murphy 12-21-2009 8-42-44 AM

Kim Kardashian on Brittany Murphy via Twitter

I much prefer when celebrities make typos like us regular people.  You can tell  Shaquille O’Neal heard the news and just twittered this simple message in reaction.  Name spelled correctly?  Check.  Natural typos?  Check. The Real Shaq, keepin’ it real:

shaq on brittany murphy 12-21-2009 8-21-25 AM

Shaq on Brittany Murphy via Twitter

Like Shaq, Alicia Silverstone seemed to twitter her simple, natural reaction.  Silverstone starred in Clueless with Brittany Murphy.

Alicia Silverstone on Brittany Murphy via Twitter

Alicia Silverstone on Brittany Murphy via Twitter

The following twitter messages also felt genuine on first read.  The celeb twitterers seemed to put more thought into who Brittany Murphy was, and what her death means.  They gave the impression they actually knew her, creating a sense of intimacy with these few short words.

peter facinelli on brittany murphy 12-21-2009 8-17-51 AM

Peter Facinelli on Brittany Murphy

fred durst on brittany murphy 12-21-2009 8-40-28 AM

Fred Durst on Brittany Murphy via Twitter

But, here’s the thing: on re-reads, those messages lose their power.  Twitter is about impulse and initial reaction; messages are of the moment and not necessarily meant to stand the test of time.  Sometimes, though, they do.   Without doubt,  the most memorable Brittany Murphy twitter message came from a most surprising source, one who many thought would have been the subject of this kind of news rather than a twitterer of it:  Lindsay Lohan.

Lindsay Lohan on Brittany Murphy via Twitter

Lindsay Lohan on Brittany Murphy via Twitter

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  1. collapse expand

    Whereas more traditional means of getting public statements from friends and family of the deceased would have travelled through a conduit of publicists, lawyers and agents, the commentary tweeted directly by Kutcher and others appeared to be heart-felt and genuine. In my humble opinion, I find that “from the horse’s mouth” commentary to be a refreshing addition to the news cycle, especially in reports of loss and tragedy. http://popculture2point0.wordpress.com

  2. collapse expand

    You’re right, Lauren. It does give us a glimpse into these celebs, uncensored. I wonder if it takes work away from their PR machines, or adds to it (depending on how and what they twitter to the masses)…

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