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Clueless may or may not have been Brittany Murphy's best or most memorable role, but it was undoubtedly her breakout performance.

However, for better or for worse, the young actress who died Sunday morning began to transform following the hit comedy. Her evolution from curvy, curly-haired brunette to waif-like blonde over the years that followed was lost on no one, and certainly not the woman who cast her in the Alicia Silverstone classic.

"She seemed to go through a change, you know, on Clueless," director Amy Heckerling tells AndTheWinnerIs blogger Scott Feinberg. "Maybe she felt like she was not the, like, skinny, pretty girl, you know? And then the next few movies she was, you know, thinner, blonde, you know, at MTV Awards and all sorts of things like that and going out with Eminem and Ashton Kutcher, and, you know, suddenly got more into that whole glamorous scene.

"I think she felt the pressure to become a different sort of commodity to survive in show business, and I think it was awful," she adds.

Heckerling admits she's stayed in closer touch with Silverstone and Paul Rudd but still has seen Murphy "over the years." Regardless, the helmer says Murphy had "acting chops."

"She certainly, you know, had talent and could have done a lot of things," she says. "She could have gone on for as long as she wanted."

Heckerling's thoughts on her character echo those of her former castmates.

"She was sweet, playful and fun and a very loveable girl."


See the many looks of Brittany Murphy in our special Life in Pictures Gallery