In a double-barreled dose of Hollywood bitchslappery, actress Brittany Murphy was dropped on Tuesday by both her agent, ICM’s Jeff Berg, and manager, Brillstein-Grey’s Joanne Colonna, West Coast sources confirm.
“She was a client at Brillstein-Grey for 12 years, and she’s no longer a client there or at ICM, either,” says a high-level industry insider. “They decided to let her go.”
Why the blue-chip firms set the 28-year-old actress adrift so suddenly—even though she was recently named the face of Jordache and has a number of projects in the works, including a Sin City sequel—remains unclear. According to a source close to Murphy, the skinny Uptown Girls starlet was kicked to the curb for unspecified “personal” reasons. It couldn’t have helped that the last time her name was brought up was in connection to a jaw-dropping, vein-popping not-so-blind item in Ted Casablancas’s E!Online column.
Called for comment, a staffer at Colonna’s office confirmed that Murphy is no longer a client, saying only, “We wish her much love and success in her new endeavor.” Neither Berg nor Murphy’s sole remaining handler, BWR publicist Holly Shakoor, returned calls or e-mails by press time.
UPDATE: BWR publicist Nicole Perna tells us that the Ted Casablancas blind item on E!Online was “totally false” if it was referring to Murphy. Attorneys for Murphy have also vigorously denied on her behalf that she was involved in the incident alleged in Casablancas’s item, and said that Casablancas himself assured Murphy’s reps that the item was not about her. (Fresh Intelligence did not intend to suggest that the item was true; only that it obviously appeared to be about Murphy and that its publication could have contributed to her parting with her agent and manager.) Both Perna and Murphy’s lawyers insist that Brillstein-Grey and ICM did not fire Murphy. “It was a mutual departure based on the fact that they’re going in different directions,” Perna said of the split with BG. “They remain friends, but it was a business decision.”