Who is the man behind the curtains?

Before the shocking death of Brittany Murphy threw him into the spotlight Sunday as a grieving husband, Simon Monjack was a only known as a minor-league screenwriter.

His IMDb résumé includes just two films: a story credit on Factory Girl, the 2006 biopic of Andy Warhol sidekick Edie Sedgwick, starring Sienna Miller; and as writer-director-producer of the U.K. indie drama Two Days, Nine Lives.

But not part of the British-born Monjack's biography was his history of financial issues, including several evictions, prior to marrying his famous spouse.

Brittany Murphy, Simon Monjack

KIDO/NATIONAL PHOTO GROUP, I: Chris Weeks/Getty Images

Records obtained by E! News show that Monjack was booted from four separate apartments, dating back to 1996.

In 2006, Monjack, 39, was sued by mortgage and banking company Coutts and Co. for $470,132, which he finished paying off in 2008, after marrying Murphy.  

Despite his past financial woes, the landlord from Monjack's residence before he moved in with the Clueless star in 2007 tells E! News Monjack was a wonderful tenant.

"He was a delight and a pleasure to be with," says Victor Cowley, who refused to discuss his eviction from a high-class Hancock Park residence. "I'm really shocked and devastated by the news. I just sent him an email with my condolences."

Monjack and Murphy were engaged in 2006. The couple kept details of their courtship under wraps, but it was definitely whirlwind, coming just six months after she ended her engagement to Little Black Book production assistant Joe Macaluso.

(In a curious footnote, the home they shared was once owned by Britney Spears, a neighbor tells E! News.)

Late last month, Murphy was released from upcoming thriller flick The Caller. While her rep cited creative differences as the reason for her sudden departure, there was intense speculation the 32-year-old star was fired for being difficult.

There were reports that not only was Murphy having on-set issues, but that Monjack was also stirring up trouble behind the scenes and arguing with the crew.

Murphy's rep denied this accusation.

Whatever the reason, shortly after The Caller debacle, Monjack and Murphy boarded a plane from Puerto Rico to Los Angeles. Upon landing, Monjack was rushed to a Los Angeles hospital after appearing incoherent. 

A 911 call revealed that Monjack had stopped breathing, but was revived. It was widely reported that Murphy thought her hubby had suffered an asthma attack, but EMTs thought his health condition was more serious and insisted on taking him to the hospital.

Monjack has not spoken out about his wife's sudden demise beyond a statement issued on behalf of Murphy's family:

"The sudden loss of our beloved Brittany is a terrible tragedy. She was our daughter, our wife, our love and a shining star. We ask you to respect our privacy at this time."


This has been a year of shocking celebrity deaths. Take a look at more fallen stars in our gallery.

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