Phil Hartman

Phil Hartman

49 (passed away May. 28th, 1998)
Sep. 24th, 1948
Born in
Brantford, Ontario, Canada
5' 10 1/2

Phil Hartman's Main TV Roles

Show Character(s)
NewsRadio TV Show
Dennis the Menace TV Show
Dennis the Menace
The Dana Carvey Show TV Show
The Dana Carvey Show

Main Movie Roles

Guest TV Roles

[none found]


Philip Edward Hartmann was born on September 24, 1948, in Brantford, Ontario, Canada. His surname was originally "Hartmann" but he later dropped the other "n" -- the reason of which is unknown. As one of the eight children of Rupert and Doris Hartmann, Phil was a very caring and sensitive person and was described as "very sweet and kind of quiet." Although he was born in Canada, the family left when Phil was young, and he spent the majority of his childhood in Connecticut and Southern California. He later obtained his American citizenship in the early 1990s. He often would visit his homeland of Canada throughout his career, and the City of Brantford even erected a plaque on the Walk of Fame in the town in honor of Phil's career and memory. The Humber College Comedy: Writing & Performance program in Toronto, Ontario, also has an award in Phil's memory that is given out to their Post-Graduate comedy students. He originally studied Graphic Design at California State University. He began to work part time as a graphic artist, designing album covers for such bands as Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young (see Crosby Stills Nash & Young) and Poco. In 1975, alongside doing album work, Phil joined the California comedy troupe, The Groundlings. While in The Groundlings, Phil worked with Paul Reubens and Jon Lovitz, who became good friends of his until his death. Phil and Paul created the character Pee Wee Herman together, and Phil even had a role on "Pee-wee's Playhouse" (1986) as pirate Captin' Carl.

In 1986, Phil joined the cast of "Saturday Night Live" (1975) and was on the show for a record of 8 seasons (which was later broken by Tim Meadows). Phil played a wide range of characters including: Frank Sinatra, Bill Clinton (I), Ronald Reagan (I), Ed McMahon (I), Barbara Bush (I), and many others. He was known to help out other writers who wanted to get their sketches read and onto the show. He held "Saturday Night Live" (1975) together during his 8-year reign, thus the nickname he garnered while on the show, "The Glue."

Phil was also known for his voice work on commercials and cartoons. He was probably most well known for the voices of Troy McClure and Lionel Hutz on the animated comedy "The Simpsons" (1989). He also provided other minor voices for "The Simpsons" (1989).

Phil left "Saturday Night Live" (1975) in 1994, and in 1995, was cast in the critically acclaimed NBC show "NewsRadio" (1995) as arrogant radio show host Bill McNeal. After Phil's death, Phil's good friend Jon Lovitz attempted to fill the void as Max Lewis on "NewsRadio" (1995), but the struggling show's ratings dropped, and the show later fizzled out and ended in 1999.

Phil had an interesting career in movies, mostly playing supporting characters. He was the lead in Houseguest (1995) and was also in Greedy (1994), Jingle All the Way (1996), Sgt. Bilko (1996), and his last live action film, Small Soldiers (1998).

His last role was the English language dub of Majo no takky�bin (1989), as the quick-witted cat Jiji, which featured Small Soldiers co-star _Kirsten Dunst_ in the lead voice role.

On May 28th, 1998, Phil was shot to death while sleeping in his Encino, California home by his wife, Brynn Hartman. He was shot three times: in the forearm, neck, and head. Brynn left the house and later came back with a friend to show him the dead body. When her friend went to call 911, Brynn locked herself in the bedroom with Phil's lifeless body and stuck a second gun in her mouth and shot herself. It was later discovered by the coroner that Brynn had alcohol, cocaine, and the antidepressant, Zoloft, in her system. It was a deadly cocktail that cost her and Phil their lives and left their two children, Sean Edward (b. 1987) and Birgen (b. 1992), without parents.

Phil and Brynn's bodies were cremated and spread upon Catalina Island, just off the coast of California, on June 4, 1998. Phil had specifically stated in his will that he wanted the ashes spread on Catalina Island because it was his favorite holiday getaway (he was an avid boater).

  • Auditioned for the announcer position on _"The New Price Is Right" (1972)_ (qv), which went to 'Rod Roddy' (qv).
  • Painted the cover for the album "America's Greatest Hits: History." He's credited as "Phil Hartmann." The signature "hartmann" is also on the artwork.
  • Portrayed 'Bill Clinton (I)' (qv) on _"Saturday Night Live" (1975)_ (qv).
  • Because he helped create the character of "Pee Wee Herman", Phil was asked to co-write _Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985)_ (qv) and he accepted.
  • Was born Canadian, but became a US citizen in the early 1990s.
  • 'Lorne Michaels' (qv), producer of _"Saturday Night Live" (1975)_ (qv) considered Hartman so important to the show, he called him "The Glue".
  • Was originally signed on to play the role of Zapp Brannigan in the series _"Futurama" (1999)_ (qv) before his death. The role instead went to 'Billy West (II)' (qv), whose main character, Phillip J. Fry, was named for him.
  • Before every appearance on _"Saturday Night Live" (1975)_ (qv), he would say the Lord's Prayer to calm himself.

Related sites for this celeb
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