Jewish Journal


by Tiferet Peterseil

December 20, 2009 | 7:30 pm

I heard about it a little after midnight, Sunday Night. I was catching up on the daily online news, when one of the Israeli sites I normally visit, reported the tragedy: Britney Murphy had passed away a few hours ago from cardiac arrest, in Los Angeles.

My first thought is, this is Israel, what do we know? And immediately I set out to get the “real” news, from news sites across the globe. To my surprise, almost every online newspaper was reporting the same; the young actress died this morning after apparently going into cardiac arrest in the shower. She was 32.

I still can’t wrap my mind around it. How does someone so young go into cardiac arrest out of the blue? While I’m still trying to get over the shock, I’m even more surprised when I start scrolling down the “comments” random readers have posted, in response to the articles.

The news of the Murphy’s death is still “hot off the press” and already the rumors have begun. Although many do express their sorrow, most readers seem busy lambasting the mysterious circumstances of the young actresses’ death.

“Well what do you expect, eating a cucumber for breakfast lunch and dinner will do that to you,” one ‘fan” comments. Another adds, “so do drugs.”

In fact, hundreds of people seemed to have the time to post their thoughts on the speculated drug addiction, to the rumored Bulimia Murphy may have had.

Why is everyone awake now? I wonder, and doesn’t anyone have anything better to do than badmouth a young actress who has barely crossed over to the other side yet??

But I suppose that when bad things happen in America, we still feel it strongly in Israel. And when bad things happen to famous people, it strikes a cord with any average Joe.

A few days ago a friend of mine was trying to discourage me from continuing my acting career.

“Tiferet,” he had said. “Don’t you see how it always ends? The higher you climb, the bigger the fall. Don’t you see how all the big stars end up?”

I tried to argue that “making it big” did not necessarily mean “making it bad”. But it was a hard point to argue after he brought in the examples of Tiger Woods’ infidelity, Heath Ledgers mysterious death, Lindsay Lohans’ eating disorders as well as the many actors who continue to fight a drug addiction, if they haven’t already Over-Dosed. Even in Israel, many of my actor friend grapple with the challenges of “making it to the top”, and others simple can’t handle the pressure at the summit, and crack.

Is the price of Success worth it? Does it always have to end with Divorce, or Rehab or mysterious deaths? Are the Rich and Famous doomed?

I don’t’ know how Britney Murphy died. But I know she was much too young. By any standard.

I’d like to think her death has nothing to do with all these rumors. That her early stardom was not the obstacle of her mortality. That no one is untouchable, including celebrities. Simple tragedies happen to them too, and that’s all there is to it. I’d like to think that all the vicious rumors revolving around Murphys death have no basis and are nothing more than a tabloid stunt to sell more papers.

I’d like to think we lost a wonderful actress, but there was nothing anyone could have done to stop it. Who could predict cardiac arrest? She could never have seen it coming.

Or so I’d like to think…. So I think tomorrow, I just won’t buy the morning paper….

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