Tragic Details About The Cast Of Clueless

The following article mentions addiction, eating disorders, and domestic violence.

As if you could forget about the cult classic coming-of-age film that shot Alicia Silverstone into the spotlight, along with fellow co-stars Brittany Murphy, Stacey Dash, and forever-young Paul Rudd. Since its 1995 release, the then-modern day adaptation of Jane Austen's "Emma" has made its mark on pop culture and the cast of "Clueless" has changed dramatically over the decades.

Despite the monumental success of the film, it hasn't necessarily been smooth sailing for all of the "Clueless" actors. Where many have made it big, others have dipped quietly out of the spotlight. Additionally, several of the stars have faced tragic events either while filming the timeless teen comedy, shortly after, or several years later. From a near-heart attack, devastating deaths, heartbreak, and a mugging of one of the leads that practically mirrored Cher's parking lot robbery, read on for the full scope of tragic details about the cast of "Clueless."

Breckin Meyer struggled to shake his Clueless character

Having gotten his start in the late '80s, Breckin Meyer was just a kid when he began acting. In 1993, two years before he'd play Travis Birkenstock, the well-meaning skateboarding stoner who crushes on Tai, told UPI, "I always knew I wanted to work in TV and movies." Meyer confessed that his grade school girlfriend, Drew Barrymore, helped him get into the industry.

While he enjoyed a few stints on TV shows like, "The Wonder Years" and "L.A. Law" before breaking into movies, Meyer eventually became typecast throughout the '90s as a goofy, underachieving high school student — and it wasn't exactly his ideal situation. "After I finished 'Clueless,' the last thing I wanted to play was another stoner skater. It's not because I didn't like the character but I like to change it up," he told in 2022.  Similarly to Eric Stoltz who played Stoner Bud in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," it became a trope that was hard for him to shake. Throughout his roles in "The Craft," "The Home Court," "Escape from L.A." and more, Meyer played the same types of characters until the year 2000, when he was cast as Josh in "Road Trip." 

Despite his near-decade struggle to delve into deeper, meatier roles, Meyer managed to prove himself as a talented actor in other genres. However, his part in "Clueless" remains to be many fans' favorite characters in the movie, with Esquire calling him "the real hero of 'Clueless.'"

Paul Rudd was held up at gunpoint while filming Clueless

There's an ongoing rumor that Paul Rudd is an ageless vampire, and it's pretty believable when you look at his transformation over the years. Playing Cher's dreamy step-brother Josh in "Clueless" was his big breakout role and it established Rudd as an easily cast love interest in several more films. To put it lightly, we wouldn't be surprised if his role helped lead to his eventual title of People's Sexiest Man Alive in 2021.

While the film set him up for success, Rudd had a terrifying encounter in the time he was filming that somewhat resembled a scene in "Clueless." While on "The Howard Stern Show" in 2015, he spoke about getting held up at gunpoint. "I was at Jerry's Deli in Studio City and I went outside to my car and a guy came out of nowhere, put a gun to my head. ... And I had no money on me," he recalled. The assailant then fired the gun right next to Rudd's head to prove the weapon was real. The actor let the gunman leaf through his car before running off. Because he had to be back on set the following day, he had quite a story to tell his castmates.

Elisa Donovan 'almost had a heart attack' during filming

The role of Amber in "Clueless" was only Elisa Donovan's second credited part in her career, and it was a memorable one. Aside from the countless fashion moments her character had, she was also the one to deliver the line, "Ms. Stoeger, my plastic surgeon doesn't want me doing any activity where balls fly at my nose." And, who could forget the classic "Whatever" with her fingers in the shape of a "W."

Sadly, Donovan was another cast member of the movie who endured a tragic event while filming. While speaking on the "Celebrity Catch Up: Life After That Thing I Did" podcast in 2021, she revealed that she had been dealing with the ramifications of an eating disorder while on set. "I was suffering greatly from anorexia and I had been ... in denial about it," she explained. After taking a few days off from filming, Donovan said that she "almost had a heart attack." Her friend took her to the emergency room where the doctor informed her about the impact of eating disorders. "I said, 'Well, you're crazy,' because I felt like I was too fat to be anorexic," she recalled. She eventually recognized that this mindset was part of her disorder.

The actor was afraid that she would lose everything this early in her career if she carried on down this path. Donovan eventually made a full recovery and now helps raise awareness and fights the stigma around anorexia.

Jeremy Sisto lost out on a major role in Titanic

The totally popular and incredibly handsome Elton was played by Jeremy Siston in "Clueless." It's unfortunate that he turned out to be a bit sleazy, but Cher found her Prince Charming in the end. Although Sisto had a couple of film roles before "Clueless" and he had a large part in the movie, it took several years before he landed his role in 2001's "Six Feet Under."

Things might have been different, though, if he had been selected for the major role in "Titanic" that he auditioned for. Sisto spoke with HuffPost in 2015 about losing the part of Jack to Leonardo DiCaprio, quipping, "That was one of the many, many jobs I didn't get."

He had done a screen test with Kate Winslet and a few other almost-Roses, and despite the movie not working out in his favor, he's since found the silver lining. "It was a pretty great experience. To be involved in something that had that kind of scope — anything James Cameron does has this huge scope to it. He's trying to push the limits on things. So I was just insanely inspired by it and a little heartbroken when the role didn't come my way," Sisto explained. There had been other roles that the actor sadly missed out on, including one in "Dazed and Confused," but he's nonetheless done extremely well for himself.

Alicia Silverstone was body shamed for her role in 1997

There's hardly an actor out there who hasn't faced some level of objectification, and while media outlets have generally improved over the years, the '90s were like the Wild West. Unfortunately, Alicia Silverstone wasn't able to escape this scrutiny, and it led to her dissatisfaction with acting.

The iconic fashion moments in "Clueless" drew a lot of attention, and while some of her other co-stars faced stereotypical, Hollywood-esque body shaming, it wasn't until Silverstone's next big role that she was dealt the worst of it. She was cast in 1997's "Batman & Robin" as Barbara Wilson, aka Batgirl, and wore a very form-fitting bodysuit alongside George Clooney and Chris O'Donnell. It was her biggest role yet, but the media was less than kind and took to calling Silverstone "Fatgirl," both in the tabloids and in person.

In an interview with The Guardian, she said, "They would make fun of my body when I was younger. It was hurtful but I knew they were wrong. I wasn't confused. I knew that it was not right to make fun of someone's body shape, that doesn't seem like the right thing to be doing to a human." On top of the body shaming Silverstone faced, her performance in the action film received poor reviews and she even won the award for Worst Supporting Actress at the 1998 Razzie Awards, fueling her disdain for the industry.

Brittany Murphy died under mysterious circumstances in 2009

Tai Frasier, played by the late Brittany Murphy, was the new girl in "Clueless" who was taken under the wings of Cher and Dionne. Murphy's rise to fame was sudden, and she landed large parts in movies like "Girl, Interrupted," "8 Mile," and "Sin City." 

Murphy's personal life also got a lot of attention. After dating several celebrities, including Eminem and Ashton Kutcher, she entered into a relationship with screenwriter Simon Monjack in 2006. That period seemed to be a turning point for her, but not in a good way. She had lost a significant amount of weight, and people around her noticed a shift in her personality. In the documentary "What Happened, Brittany Murphy?" (via the New York Post), her "King of the Hill" co-star Kathy Najimy said, "Brittany was cloudy and gone." Regarding her weight, she also remembered Murphy telling her (via The Cut), "That's what I've been told: If I want to be considered a leading lady, I have to lose a lot of weight."

Her friends and family eventually held an intervention for the star, as they didn't trust her new beau. Despite the warnings, she married Monjack in April 2007. The morning of December 20, 2009, at just 32 years old, Murphy collapsed in her bathroom and was pronounced dead at the hospital a few hours later. Her cause of death was determined to be a combination of prescription drugs and pneumonia, but her mother's and husband's reactions sent theories flying.

Brittany Murphy's husband was blamed for her death

The untimely death of Brittany Murphy was a tragedy, but the mysterious circumstances in which she died have led to speculation that Simon Monjack was to blame for her death. Director Allison Burnett recounted in the "What Happened, Brittany Murphy?" documentary that he had noted Monjack to be a serial liar when they first met, as he had claimed to have dated Madonna, survived terminal brain cancer, and told other questionable stories. Additionally, Monjack's ex-fiancé Elizabeth Ragsdale spoke about his criminal history and alleged that he threatened to keep their son from her if Ragsdale informed Murphy of his abusive behavior (via Esquire).

Monjack had taken on the role of his wife's agent, manager, and makeup artist in the time leading up to her death, in a seemingly controlling ploy. After she died, there were questions about why he didn't get her the medical help she needed. Murphy's coroner explained, "The cause of death is not a mystery. The mystery is, why didn't somebody catch it? Had they taken her to the doctor a few days before, she would still be alive." Per the Daily Mail, Monjack denied he was too controlling, and even blamed Warner Bros. for Murphy's death. The studio rebuffed his allegations, calling his claims "reprehensible."

The actor, Monjack, and her mother had all been living together, and when she died, the two mourners continued cohabiting. On May 23, 2010, Monjack died from pneumonia and anemia, six months after Murphy.

Donald Faison's ex-wife died in 2017

He had only been acting for a few years when Donald Faison landed the role of Murray, Dionne's on-and-off boyfriend in "Clueless." It would still be several years before he landed perhaps his most renowned character, Turk, in "Scrubs." In 1997, Faison began dating Lisa Askey, a nursing student at the time, who helped him get back on his feet after squandering all of his money. "I was lazy and she straightened me out," he told People in 2002.

The couple had twins, Dade and Kaya, in 1999 and in 2001 they got married before welcoming their second son, Kobe. Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to last, leading Faison and Askey to divorce in 2005, and he later went on to marry CaCee Cobb, with whom he had two more children.

Tragically, on March 1, 2017, Faison announced via Instagram that his late ex-wife had died, without disclosing the cause. "My son Dade is very brave. Today he and his brother Kobe and sister Kaya lost their mother. Lisa Askey Faison. She and I never really saw eye to eye but one thing we did share was our love for our children. RIP Lisa. You raised three beautiful children into fine adults and I am forever grateful for that," he wrote.

Alicia Silverstone divorced Christopher Jarecki in 2018

After 13 years of marriage, Alicia Silverstone and Christopher Jarecki called it quits. Their separation was listed as occurring in March of 2016, although they announced their breakup in February 2018 and Silverstone filed for divorce that May. A representative for the actor told People at the time, "They still deeply love and respect each other and remain very close friends but have mutually decided to separate after being together for 20 years. They have a son together who they will continue to co-parent."

It was announced in November 2018 that Silverstone had been ordered to pay her ex-husband $12,000 per month until January 2024 in spousal support. The exes also said that they will continue to share custody of their son, who was born in 2011.

In 2021, Silverstone appeared on "The Drew Barrymore Show" and spoke about trying to find love again after her divorce. She set up a dating profile for herself on a dating app, but had been banned as Silverstone assumed she had been seen as a catfish. "I had a date with someone planned and the day I went in to find out about the date, like where we were meeting or whatever, I had been banned, poor guy," she shared. It may have taken a couple of tries, but Cher eventually found love in "Clueless," and we're optimistic that Silverstone will find it again one day, too.

Stacey Dash was arrested for domestic battery in 2019

Dionne Davenport, Cher's equally fashionable and popular bestie, was played by Stacey Dash. She already had established herself in Hollywood more than a decade before "Clueless" was released, thanks to credits in hit series like "The Cosby Show" and "St. Elsewhere." While she has continued acting over the years, Dash has struggled somewhat with her private life.

The actor had been married to her fourth husband Jeffrey Marty for nearly a year and a half when she was arrested after an argument between the couple. Although Dash had called 911 initially to report Marty for putting her "into a chokehold," according to audio obtained by TMZ, her husband had scratches on his left arm when police arrived, leading to Dash being charged with domestic battery. She was handcuffed and cooperated with the authorities without further incident, and Marty later bailed her out. The charges were dropped and news around the couple was quiet for some time.

Then, in late April of 2020, Dash took to Instagram (via USA Today) to announce that she and Marty had split up. "My husband and I have made the hard decision of ending our marriage. After much prayer, I feel this is the right path for both of us. I wish him nothing but the best. Thank you everyone for your support and respecting our privacy during this difficult time," her post read. It seemed the couple had a tumultuous relationship and that they're perhaps better off going their separate ways.

Stacey Dash opened up about her struggles with addiction in 2021

A couple of years after her run-in with the law, Stacey Dash opened up about her struggles with drug addiction while appearing on "The Dr. Oz Show" in 2021. The actor said she was taking 18 to 20 Vicodin pills everyday, noting that it was not only expensive, but had a devastating impact on her life. "I lost everything," she confessed.

Dash celebrated five years of sobriety in 2021 and has spoken about how her journey has helped her gain a better understanding of her parents, who also had issues with drug dependency. "I've been able to understand my parents and that they did love me, and that they were doing the best they could and they were just sick. They were addicted," she explained. Before she sat down with Dr. Oz, she posted about finding sobriety and dealing with addiction on Facebook (via USA Today). "I encourage anyone who has a story they are scared of telling to share it with the world," she wrote. "You never know who will be able to relate to you and who it can help."

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

If you need help with an eating disorder, or know someone who does, help is available. Visit the National Eating Disorders Association website or contact NEDA's Live Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. You can also receive 24/7 Crisis Support via text (send NEDA to 741-741).

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.