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Phil Hartman

Phil Hartman

Philip Edward Hartman (né Hartmann; September 24, 1948 – May 28, 1998) was a Canadian-American actor, comedian, screenwriter and graphic designer. Hartman was born in Brantford, Ontario, Canada, and his family moved to the United States when he was 10 years old. After graduating from California State University, Northridge with a degree in graphic arts, he designed album covers for bands including Poco and America. In 1975, he joined the comedy group The Groundlings, where he helped Paul Reubens develop his character Pee-wee Herman. Hartman co-wrote the film Pee-wee's Big Adventure and made recurring appearances as Captain Carl on Reubens' show Pee-wee's Playhouse. In 1986, Hartman joined the NBC sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live (SNL) as a cast member, and stayed for eight seasons until 1994. Nicknamed "Glue" for his ability to hold the show together and help other cast members, he won a Primetime Emmy Award for his SNL work in 1989. In 1995, he starred as Bill McNeal in the sitcom NewsRadio after declining to return to SNL. He also voiced various characters on The Simpsons, and had minor roles in the films Houseguest, Sgt. Bilko, Jingle All the Way, and Small Soldiers. After two divorces, Hartman married Brynn Omdahl in 1987, with whom he had two children. Their marriage was troubled due to Brynn's drug use and domestic violence against Hartman, who was frequently absent from home. In 1998, while Hartman was sleeping in his bed, his wife shot and killed him, and later committed suicide. In the weeks following his murder, Hartman was celebrated in a wave of tributes. Dan Snierson of Entertainment Weekly wrote that Hartman was "the last person you'd expect to read about in lurid headlines in your morning paper ... a decidedly regular guy, beloved by everyone he worked with". He was posthumously inducted into the Canada and Hollywood Walks of Fame in 2012 and 2014.
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