Brittany Murphy in Interview

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Published December 21, 2009

PHOTO BY HERB RITTS

Actress Brittany Murphy died yesterday in Los Angeles, at the age of 32. Beloved by all children of the 90s for her breakout role as Tai in Clueless (and thus the orator of the line “rolling with the homies”), her resume also included lauded performances in 8 Mile and Sin City.Murphy was Interview‘s  January 2003 cover story, for which she was interviewed by Drew Barrymore. In that interview, Murphy talks about life, death, and her idea of perfect happiness:DREW BARRYMORE: Which historical figure do you most identify with?

BRITTANY MURPHY: Oh, Jeez. I think I’ll say Clara Bow. I’m looking at her right now. I have this old picture of her in my room, with Max Factor doing her makeup. You know, I’m back now by the way.

BARRYMORE: If you could have five people at a dinner party, dead or alive, who would they be?

MURPHY: The bummer about this amazing frickin’ question is that my sense of history is not very good. I wish I could answer it after I’ve had time to brush up on my history. OK. Jesus, Clara Bow–I have to bring her back–Janis Joplin…

BARRYMORE: Janis Joplin! Rock ‘n’ roll!

MURPHY: We need another man. No bad energy. I’m trying to figure out of it should be e.e. cummings.

BARRYMORE: I would say yes.

MURPHY: OK. So I’m going with e.e. cummings. And the fifth person…Bob Fosse.

BARRYMORE: OK. If you were to die and come back, what would you come back as?

MURPHY: As a redwood. What about you?

BARRYMORE: I feel like I would want to come back as a scientist. I’m really into physics and astronomy right now. But back to you. Next question: How would you like to die?

MURPHY: Painlessly. I’d like to be very, very, very, very, very old. With all the technology we’re inventing and what they’re coming up with scientifically, people are having longer lifetimes. It’s scary, but in the same sense it’s also very exciting. So I would like to be happy and healthy, and live as long as possible.

BARRYMORE: I liked how you turned the question from how would you like to die into how you’re going to live. Beautiful…What is your idea of perfect happiness?

MURPHY: Do you mean the feeling or do you mean something that makes me feel that way?

BARRYMORE: They sound similar, but I think you’re steering in the right direction with your instincts.

MURPHY: The thing that I’m learning right now is self-preservation–over the past year I’vediscovered if you keep on giving and giving, you end up losing yourself. I think that learning to give and receive is the trick. Perfect happiness is also a feeling, and the most amazing thing is that we were all born with the gift to make it happen in a heartbeat. Putting on certainmusic, reading something can make us feel a certain way; affirmations, letting ourselves breathe, enjoying our loved ones, and enjoying being in our own skin. I think the key to happiness is allowing ourselves to not feel bad or guilty for feeling it, and letting it be contagious. And to not be dependent on other people to create your own happiness.