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Dec. 20 2009 - 4:14 pm | 2,298 views | 1 recommendation | 3 comments

Brittany Murphy’s best, and longest-running, role

Murphy at the Australian premiere of Happy Fee...

Brittany Murphy, 1977-2009. (Image via Wikipedia)

While filmdom fans and writers are still gathering news about the unexpected death of actress Brittany Murphy today, they are recounting the up-and-down career and past successes of the doe-eyed woman with the unique speaking style and attention-grabbing voice — something akin to baby talk fed through 80-grit sandpaper.

And while the career of the former child actor had, at times, more twists than straightaways after she burst onto the national scene in the 1995 film “Clueless,” it was that unmistakable voice that gave Murphy her longest-running and, perhaps, most memorable role: Luanne Platter on Fox’s animated “King of the Hill.”

As the voice of Luanne for the show’s entire 13-year run, Murphy brought naiveté and cluelessness to the role of Hank Hill’s live-in niece, a girl whose mother was serving time for stabbing her father — an incident that sent the trusting girl into the arms of many, many men in search of a replacement family.

Luanne was apt to believe any slick line handed to her and follow any scheme that came down the Texas highway. But despite her dangerously simple intellect, this failed beautician school student and one-time member of the Communist Party (their candidate was the most handsome) also had a gift to make people happy — exemplified best by her Christian puppet show, The Manger Babies:

It was Murphy’s voice that gave Luanne life — and gave Luanne a sweetness of heart and spirit that made the character more than just a caricature of a ditzy country bumpkin. Luanne could have been simple, but Murphy’s trusting voice made her surprisingly deep. That was always part of the joy of watching “King of the Hill;” its cartoon characters were more full-bodied and full-blooded than most live-action sitcoms — and Murphy ably fit in the cast.

Brittany Murphy — and the spirit of Luanne Platter she brought to life — will be missed.


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