A Brief History
On December 20, 2009, actress and lovely young woman Brittany Murphy died from pneumonia. Although she had various prescription medicines in her system, it was definitely not the drugs that killed her. Could the cause of death have been the growth of mold in an improperly built home? Could death have been caused by murder? Today, we discuss 5 young women that died well before their time, and how such tragedies can happen.
1. Brittany Murphy, actress, 2009.
At the time of her death (at age 32), rumors circulated that Murphy had died from complications of anorexia because she had clearly lost weight in the years leading up to her death. Other rumors concerned alleged drug use, rumors that have never been substantiated. A lawsuit against the builders of the house in which Murphy died went forward claiming toxic mold had built up in the improperly designed house when her husband and widower, Simon Monjack, died from pneumonia only 6 months later! That suit failed to prove negligence by the builders, and later questions about the possibility that Brittany had been murdered by the introduction of toxic heavy metals (antimony and barium) filed by Brittany’s father alleging Brittany’s mother had poisoned their daughter were dismissed. (Brittany was born Brittany Bertolotti to Sharon Murphy and Angelo Bertolotti.) Not only “girl next door” beautiful, Murphy was an accomplished actress starring in many movies, including Sin City, Uptown Girls, 8 Mile and Don’t Say a Word, as well as working as a voice actress on Happy Feet and the animated television show, King of the Hill. She appeared on many television shows and even in video games.
2. Selena Quintanilla-Perez, singer, model, actress, 1995.
Known as “The Queen of Tejano” (Mexican-American music), Selena was riding high on success when in 1971, she was gunned down and killed by her agent and “friend,” Yolanda Saldivar in 1995. Selena was at the peak of her popularity, having won 9 consecutive titles as Tejano Music Awards Female Vocalist of the Year, and was only 23 years old when she was murdered. It seems Yolanda had been mismanaging Selena’s businesses and had been embezzling money, and when people around Selena started looking into wrongful practices by Yolanda she chose to murder Selena in her native Corpus Christi. Yolanda is serving a life in prison sentence for the murder. Selena had been extremely popular, with a clean living and wholesome image that people, especially girls, looked up to. Her influence on music and fashion in the US and Mexico was profound. Governor George W. Bush declared Selena’s birthday “Selena Day” in Texas shortly after her death. In 1997 a major motion picture about the Tejano singer titled, Selena, and starring Jennifer Lopez was released. To date, over 60 million vocal recordings of Selena’s have been sold.
3. Dorothy Stratten, actress, model, 1980.
An incredibly beautiful young lady, in August of 1979, this Canadian looker became Playboy Playmate of the Month and soon after Playboy Playmate of the Year for 1980. Born Dorothy Hoogstraten in Vancouver to a couple that had immigrated from the Netherlands, she then began a promising acting career with bit parts in a few television shows and in a science fiction parody film. Her road to stardom was cut short, however, when the pimp she married (seriously, not name calling), Paul Snider, gunned her down at the age of 20 for leaving him for movie director Peter Bogdanovich. Before killing her with a shotgun, he raped her, and afterwards he abused her body before killing himself with the same shotgun, leaving us with another case of what might have been. Bogdanovich later married Stratten’s younger sister. Stratten has been portrayed by Jamie Lee Curtis and Mariel Hemmingway in movies (Death of a Centerfold and Star 80). It is Dorothy’s haunting beauty and tremendous lost potential that earned her a spot on this list. History and Headlines Trivia: Stratten was preceded as Playmate of the Month by another Dorothy (Mays).
4. Divya Bahrti, actress, model, 1993.
Although only 19 years old when she died, Divya was already a premier Bollywood actress in India, making major movies in Hindi and Telugu. Incredibly beautiful, Divya (also known as Sanah) started modeling and acting at the age of 14, moving quickly up the ranks of Bollywood actresses to the top earning plateau. This wonderful girl died from head injuries when she fell from a 5th floor balcony at her apartment in Mumbai. Born a Hindu, she converted to Islam when she married Sajid Nadiadawala in 1992, changing her first name to Sana or Sanah and taking his last name. Divya had fallen from the balcony around 11 pm, with no known witnesses. Neighbors found her on the ground and called an ambulance, but Divya died from the trauma to her head and base of her neck. Obviously, with the death of such a high profile celebrity rumors about her having been under the influence of drugs or alcohol or having died from nefarious means circulated, though no such facts have ever surfaced.
5. Nafisa Joseph, model, video jockey, 2004.
Attractive enough to have been a finalist in the 1997 Miss Universe contest, representing India, Nafisa was the daughter of a Syrian Christian man and a Bengali woman, and was raised Catholic despite her Muslim first name. Already modeling professionally at the age of 12, Nafisa went on to a career as a VJ for MTV for 5 years as well as acting in the Indian version of Charlie’s Angels on television. Nafisa also edited a magazine called Gurlz, and was an active animal rights campaigner. A graduate of St. Joseph’s College (Bangalore, India), this dynamic young woman died at the too young age of 26.
Question for students (and subscribers): What other beautiful women died too young? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
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For more information, please see…
Baker, Ken and Senta Scarborough. “E! Investigates: 5 Reasons Brittany Murphy’s Death Is Still a Mystery.” E! News. http://www.eonline.com/news/750979/e-investigates-5-reasons-brittany-murphy-s-death-is-still-a-mystery (accessed 19 December 2017).
The featured image in this article, a U.S. Navy photograph by Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class Sandra Palumbo of actress Brittany Murphy with Actor/Comedian Paul Rodriguez performing for the crew during for a United Services Organization (USO) show aboard USS Nimitz (CVN 68), is a work of a sailor or employee of the U.S. Navy, taken or made as part of that person’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, it is in the public domain in the United States.