• It's still unclear what caused Brittany Murphy's death in Los Angeles yesterday morning. While the coroner has indicated the 32-year-old actress appears to have died from "natural causes," it's been reported that lots of prescription drug bottles were uncovered by cops at the scene, and some friends say they'd grown increasingly concerned that she was abusing painkillers. An autopsy is planned for today or tomorrow, but an official cause of death may take a couple of weeks, pending the results of toxicology tests. [NYP, TMZ, People, Sun]
• Murphy's death has put the spotlight on her husband, sketchy 39-year-old screenwriter Simon Monjack, who married Murphy in 2007. [NYDN]
• Tiger Woods set sail on his 155-foot yacht Privacy on Saturday accompanied by a bunch of friends. Where he's going is anybody's guess, although considering the boat has a range of 4,000 miles, it could be anywhere. As for his estranged wife, Elin Nordegren, now that she's retained a divorce lawyer, she's reportedly gearing up to ask for full custody of their two kids and half of his fortune, which has been estimated at $600 million. [NYP, People]
• The e-reader war rages on: If you want to read the Post on your Kindle on the way to work, you're out of luck; you'll have to buy a Sony Reader. [NYT, AFP]
• Project Runway will return to NYC (and Lifetime) for its 7th season. [NYDN]
• Budget Travel isn't shutting down, contrary to the rumors awhile back. But it does have a new owner now that Newsweek has sold it to a financial firm. [AP]
• Job cuts at the Times in the last two days have claimed 18 people. [AP]
• American Idol creator Simon Fuller is launching an online talent show. [NYT]
• Diane Sawyer's GMA debut next week is going to be "low-key." [USAT]
• It looks like Fox News will close out 2009 with its highest ratings ever. [B&C]
• Ashton Kutcher is bringing The Beautiful Life back. On YouTube. [NYT]
• The 16th annual SAG Award nominations were announced today. [LAT]
• Nancy O'Dell is quitting Access Hollywood. Why? Because the show is getting too sensational and she's a "nice and classy girl." But you knew that. [People]
Furrier, social fixture, and permanent PETA target Dennis Basso turns 55 today. Téa Leoni is turning 43. Chelsea Handler is 34. Reclusive billionaire hedge fund manager Bruce Kovner is 64. Longtime CBS newsman Bob Schieffer is turning 72. Access Hollywood's Nancy O'Dell is 43. Actress Rashida Jones is turning 33. Actor Sean Astin is 38. Julio Iglesias, Jr., the son of Julio and brother of Enrique, is turning 36. Sally Jesse Raphael is 74. And Carrot Top turns 44 today.
Hilary Duff attending a charity event at Roberto Clemente Elementary School on East 4th Street ... Jessica Simpson leaving her hotel with her dog Daisy ... Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts walking on Lafayette Street with son Alexander ... Sarah Jessica Parker leaving an office building in Midtown ... Madonna leaving the Kabbalah Center with her kids ... Katie Holmes leaving her apartment in the East Village ... Tom Cruise leaving Matt Lauer's Friars Club roast at the Hilton in Midtown ... Pink walking in SoHo with her dad ... Access Hollywood's Nancy O'Dell leaving her hotel ... Taylor Momsen on the Gossip Girl set ... Keira Knightley on the set of her new film in SoHo ... and Tim Robbins playing roller hockey in the West Village.