Phil Hartman

Full Name: Philip Edward Hartmann

Born: September 24,1948 in Brantford, Ontario, Canada

Died: May 28, 1998 in Encino, California

Education: California State University; Graphic Design major

Occupation: Actor/Impersonator/Entertainer

Visit Ape Culture – for an awesome story about Phil!

If Elvis was the ‘king’ of Rock, Phil Hartman was a ‘god’ at what he did.

Well, my Phil Hartman story isn’t as exiting as the one on Ape Culture, but it is mine. I was a huge fan of Phil Hartman when he was alive. I didn’t follow his career with any more interest than any other actors I enjoyed at the time, but I did enjoy watching a show I liked only to discover with my ears that one the characters was using his voice.

Though I never did pay too much attention to Phil Hartman particular, looking back, I realize that the time period I watched Saturday Night Live on a regular basis was also the time period Phil Hartman was a regular on the show. It’s also interesting to know that, though I enjoyed Denise Miller and his news skits, my favorite SNL skits included the “Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy”.

In the early days, I was a big fan of Pee-Wee Herman and I still enjoy Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. I also used to watch the Tracy Ulman Show and can, in all honesty, say I enjoyed the Simpsons when they were just a goofy little skit before and after the commercial breaks during her show (I often wonder how many other people can remember that). Though Phil wasn’t on the Tracy Ulman show (that I am aware of anyway) he did become a part of The Simpsons later on, and made it that much better.

I remember watching The Brave Little Toaster (one of my favorite cartoons) back in around ’89 and associating the voice of Air Conditioner as the guy on Saterday Night Live. I began to notice Phil Hartman as the talent that he was in the early ’90s. By the mid ’90s he was at the top of my favorites list. I actually looked forward to his great and everlasting career.

I had a standing joke with my mom concerning Phil Hartman. Every time I heard his voice I would say something like, “hey, that’s Phil Hartman”. My mom would say, “who’s Phil Hartman?” Then I would tell her, “he’s the guy who plays the voice of … on …” I never gave her more facts, and never told her the same fact twice. At first I think she really didn’t know who he was, but I always made sure to watch “Newsradio” so I’m sure she came to know him as the guy on “Newsradio”. But there could never be any doubt how much I admired the guy and I’m just as sure that she also came to know him as one my favorite actors.

His death devastated me.

At the time I was living in a camper trailer parked at the back of my grandma’s driveway. I had waken up and gone into the house for … (lunch probably). As I sat down at the table my mom asked me if I had seen the news. Now, I hate stupid questions. I had come in in good happy mood and wammo! “Did you see the news?” Of course I hadn’t seen the news, how am I supposed to see the new when I had been out in my camper all morning. Now I was in a bad mood, stupid questions do that to me. At least I still had my good appetite.

There was silence for a bit then she said, “Phil Hartman was killed today.” I lost my appetite that very instant. My first thought was ‘who did it, I’ll kill him’. My mom told me his wife had shot him and I instantly wanted to kill the wife. But, I also knew without being told that she was already dead.

After that I went back out to my camper without eating and wrote in my journal about how great Phil Hartman was and what an inspiration he had been. I wrote my in journal that if Elvis was the ‘king’ of Rock & Role, that Phil Hartman was a ‘god’ at what he did. Later on I actually heard a newscaster say the same thing.

I’m so grateful that Phil Hartman was able to accomplish so much in such a short life. I have missed him.

Below is his biography, filmography and voiceography I pillaged from other Internet sites.

Biography: Phil Hartman was born on September 24, 1948, to a German-Catholic family, in Ontario, Canada. He joined the famed Los Angeles based comedy troupe, “The Groundlings” in 1975, where he made the acquaintance of comedian Paul Reubens. In collaboration with Reubens, Hartman helped create the character of Pee-wee Herman, co-writing the screenplay of the 1985 movie Pee-wee’s Big Adventure and portraying the grimy Kap’n Karl on the Saturday-morning TV series Pee-wee’s Playhouse (1986-90).

Hartman appeared as part of a comedy ensemble on the 1985 summer replacement series Our Time. He became a member of the Saturday Night Live cast on October 11, 1986, and gained his American Citizenship in 1990. Hartman had 99 celebrity voices in his manifest, including a impressive and hysterical impersonation of President Bill Clinton, which became an audience favorite on SNL and Jay Leno’s Tonight Show where he often made guest appearances.

After 8 seasons he left Saturday Night Live sharing a 1989 Emmy for “outstanding writing” and holding the record for largest number of appearances (153) as an SNL regular. He made a pilot of a variety show known as “The Phil Hartman Show” in which he co-hosted with his wife. When it was never picked up, he was cast on the NBC sitcom “Newsradio” as radio voice talent Bill McNeal. He also had an extensive TV career as various voices on the animated sit-com “The Simpsons”. Hartman was a successful TV commercial voice over artist and pitchman and, on occasion, acted in feature films. He was divorced twice, and at the time of his death was married to Brynn (Vicki) Omdahl, they had had 2 children, Sean (Born 1989) and Birgen (Born 1992).

Motion Pictures Phil Acted In: Small Soldiers (1998), The Second Civil War (1997), Jingle All the Way (1996), Sgt. Bilko (1996), Houseguest (1995), Stuart Saves His Family (1995), The Crazysitter (1994), Greedy (1994), CB4 (1993), Coneheads (1993), National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon 1 (1993), So I Married an Axe Murderer (1993), How I Got Into College (1989), Blind Date (1987), The Twelve Days of Christmas (1987), Jumpin’ Jack Flash (1986), Last Resort (1986), and Three Amigos! (1986)
Motion Picture He Helped As Screenwriter: Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure (1985)
Motion Pictures In Which Phil contributed His Voice: Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989), and The Brave Little Toaster (1988)

Some of the Characters using Phil’s voice are: T.O.M. 2000 in Alien Encounter (1994); Air Conditioner in the motion picture The Brave Little Toaster (1987); Chauncey in the motion picture Buster and Chauncey’s Silent Night (1998); Adolph Hitmaker, Bernie Wasserman, and Professor Blowhard in the “Eyes on the Prize” episode of the animated series The Critic (1994); Paddywhack in the “The Haunting of Mr. Banana Brain” episode of the animated series Darkwing Duck (1991); George Wilson, Henry Mitchell, and Ruff in the animated series Dennis the Menac (1986); Henry Mitchell and Ruff in the Television special Dennis the Menace in Mayday for Mother (1981); Various Voices in the animated series’ Fantastic Max (1988); Foofur (1987); Gravedale High (1990); Jiji in the Anime Film Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989); Tom Morgan in the Motion Picture The Pagemaster (1994); Announcer on Russian film reel in the “Spaced Out?” episode of the animated series The Ren and Stimpy Show (1991); Lionel Hutz, and Troy McClure in the animated series The Simpsons (1989); Ace London in the “Mach One for the Gipper” episode of the animated series TaleSpin (1990)

In his personal life, Hartman was unlike the characters he played and was loved and respected for his humbleness, his affability and his generosity; he often donated his time to charities. It was therefore a terrible shock when on May 28, 1998, he was shot to death while sleeping in the bedroom of his Encino, California home. His wife Brynn Hartman committed the murder and then shot herself after police removed the couple’s two small children from the premises. Later reports stated that despite putting on a good public face as a couple, the two had been trying for years to resolve their difficulties and that Brynn’s drug and alcohol use were factors in the tragedy.

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