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, Ronald Reagan, Ed McMahon, Barbara Bush, 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 Kiki's Delivery Service (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. Brynn left the house and later came back with a friend to show him Phil's body. When her friend went to call 911, Brynn locked herself in the bedroom with Phil's lifeless body and shot herself. It was later discovered by the coroner that Brynn had alcohol, cocaine, and the antidepressant, Zoloft, in her system. They leave behind two children, Sean Edward (b. 1988) and Birgen (b. 1992).
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 as he was an avid boater, surfer and general lover of the sea.
|Brynn Hartman||(25 November 1987 - 28 May 1998) (his death) 2 children|
|Lisa Strain||(18 December 1982 - 7 May 1985) (divorced)|
|Gretchen Lewis||(12 March 1970 - 19 September 1972) (divorced)|
Radio DJ voice
Known for playing Oblivious or Immoral characters
His character "Chick Hazard P.I."
Silky smooth voice
Created artwork for Poco's 1978 album "Legend". 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. Designed logo for the band Crosby Stills & Nash. Designed and drew the cover to the Firesign Theatre's 1980 album "The Fighting Clowns".
Celebrity impersonations include Bill Clinton, Frank Sinatra, Michael Caine, Telly Savalas, Burt Reynolds, Jack Nicholson, Ronald Reagan, Barbara Bush, and Phil Donahue. He was one of seven actors to have portrayed Ronald Reagan on "Saturday Night Live" (1975). Died the same month as Frank Sinatra, whom he had many times impersonated on "Saturday Night Live" (1975).
Children, with Brynn Hartman: Sean Edward (b. 1987) and Birgen (b. 1992), are being raised by Brynn's sister Katherine in Wisconsin.
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.
Designed logo for the band Crosby Stills & Nash.
Majored in graphic design at California State University.
Was born Canadian, but became a US citizen in the early 1990s.
Designed and drew the cover to the Firesign Theatre's 1980 album "The Fighting Clowns."
One of 8 siblings born into a Catholic family that migrated to the U.S. from Canada in the 1950s.
He is not related to cartoonist Butch Hartman, contrary to popular belief.
When Phil Hartman died in 1998, it was necessary to write into the storyline of the TV series "NewsRadio" (1995) that his anchorman character Bill McNeal had died. When that episode was being filmed, the cast and crew had to stop and restart a number of times because they continually broke out in tears.
According to Simpsons creator Matt Groening, Hartman wanted to make a live action film out of Troy McClure, his character on the show.
Jonathan Winters was his first comedic idol.
Attended Westchester High School with Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme.
The character of Phillip J Fry in "Futurama" (1999) is named for him.
Before every appearance on "Saturday Night Live" (1975), he would say the Lord's Prayer to calm himself.
Was originally signed on to play the role of Zapp Brannigan in the series "Futurama" (1999) before his death. The role instead went to Billy West, whose main character, Phillip J. Fry, was named for him.
Because he helped create the character of "Pee Wee Herman", Phil was asked to co-write Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985) and he accepted.
Over the course of 9 seasons of Phil on "The Simpsons" (1989), he voiced 19 characters. His regulars Troy McClure and Lionel Hutz, and his one-time characters Moses, The Cable Guy, Plato, The Stockbroker, Horrace, Smooth Jimmy Apollo, Lyle Lanely, Duff Gardens Announcer, Security Guard 2, Mandy Patinkin, FNL announcer, Mr. Muntz, Conover, Charlton Heston, Doctor on Review Board Commitee and Bill Clinton.
In a television interview, Hartman stated that he believed what clinched the "Saturday Night Live" (1975) audition for him was when he was asked if there was anything else he wanted to show them. He replied that he could do any dialect. If they could name the dialect, he could do it. Dennis Miller was watching his audition, and shouted out, "Do French!" Hartman's reply was, "I don't do that.".
He was, by far, the most prolific "guest star" on "The Simpsons" (1989), having been in 53 episodes before his death.
Before he became famous, appeared on "The Dating Game" (1965) as one of the three competing eligible bachelors. He was chosen by the bachelorette but, according to Hartman, she did not show up for their date.
Spoke fluent German. A video once circulated of him doing a stand-up routine in German.
Planned to star in his own variety show titled "The Phil Show" after leaving "SNL" but NBC scrapped the project.
Planned a movie based on his character Chick Hazard, Private Eye but the project fell through.
On his last Saturday Night Live performance he serenaded Chris Farley.
Was close friends with fellow SNL cast member Jan Hooks.
As a mark of respect, Lionel Hutz and Troy McClure, his characters on The Simpsons, were written out of the series and have not been seen or mentioned since.
Rehearsals for The Simpsons were cancelled on the day his death was announced.
Helped Jan Hooks overcome her stage fright while on Saturday Night Live.
Despite being known for playing boorish characters, he had a reputation as one of the nicest, most well-liked actors in Hollywood with many of his co-stars and directors describing him as a true professional and a joy to work with.
Ran a Graphic Design business before acting and designed over forty album covers, including the logo for Crosby, Stills & Nash.
Did not start acting until he was 27 years old.
I'm 49-years-old and I'm cautious of the fact that very few people in comedy have careers after age 50. I think there's a notion in our society, and it maybe valid, that people aren't as funny when they get older. It's a stigma still attached to the rebelliousness of youth. I do believe that sooner or later I'll get those great roles like Gary Sinise's part in Forrest Gump (1994) or Tommy Lee Jones' as "Two Face" in Batman Forever (1995).
I started doing Clinton and then I was on the cover of TV Guide. I became ... a household name... I didn't have to look for work any more. Work came to me
I benefit from the Mr. Potato Head syndrome. Put a wig and a nose and glasses on me, and I disappear.
(On the 1991 arrest of Paul Reubens ("Pee Wee Herman") for indecent exposure): The loss he took for what allegedly happened is the equivalent of somebody's getting 20 years for having a joint in their wallet.
I still don't speak to Paul Reubens. We just had a falling out and never put it back together.
I'm a really big fan of Bill Murray. He's been a great influence on me - when he did that smarmy thing in Ghostbusters (1984), then the same sort of thing in Groundhog Day (1993). I tried to imitate it. I couldn't. I wasn't good enough. But I discovered an element of something else, so in a sick kind of way I made myself a career by doing a bad imitation of another comic. I know who I am as a person, but as a comic actor I'm still trying to figure it out.
It's fun coming in as the second or third lead. If the movie or TV show bombs, you aren't to blame.
[on appearing on "The Dating Game" (1965)] I won... What did it? She asked me, if I was a street sign, what would I be? I said, 'Slippery when wet.' Yes, and as you might have expected, she stood me up.
I've served the same role that Dan Aykroyd did. The average guy who you could put wigs and glasses and noses on and make into a lot of different things. I've been sympathetic dads, scary attorneys, insane killers, and Frank Sinatra, who is sort of an amalgam of all those things.
[on leaving "SNL"] The shows are getting less sophisticated. There's less political satire. The younger audience loves Adam Sandler. He appeals less to the intellect and more to that stand-up sensibility of 'Let's go out there and be insane.' I like Adam Sandler, but that's not my kind of comedy, so, yeah, in a way it makes me feel like, 'Well, it's time for me to go.'
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