Late comedian Phil Hartmans life is getting a look back in the ABC special The Last Days of Phil Hartman. Weve got five things to know about the former SNL star murdered by his wife.
In May of 1998 Hollywood woke up to the horrifying news that beloved comic genius Phil Hartman had been shot dead in his own bed of his Encino, CA home by his wife Brynn, who then took her own life. He was one of the best comics and impressionists Saturday Night Live ever had in his eight years on the program. Phil was the star of his own sitcom, NBCs NewsRadio at the time of his tragic death at just 49-years-old. His life is being examined in the Sept. 19 ABC special The Last Days of Phil Hartman and weve got five things to know about him.
1. Phil was Canadian but grew up in the U.S.
He was born in Brantford, Ontario and was one of eight children. He was ten when his family moved to the U.S., first to Maine then to Los Angeles where he attended high school.
2. Phil was a member of the legendary L.A. comedy improv troupe The Groundlings.
He helped hone his comedy improvisation in classes there and by 1979 was one of the groups brightest talents.
3. Phil helped create the character of Pee Wee Herman, with his friend Paul Reubens who played Pee Wee.
Together the close friends collaborated on writing and sketch material and came up with Pee Wee, the hilarious man-child which they developed into a stage performance for Paul and later got a comedy special on HBO. Then the two created the childrens show Pee Wees Playhouse, with Phil playing the character of Captain Carl.
4. Phil rocketed to fame on Saturday Night Live.
He successfully auditioned for SNL in 1986 and quickly became one one of their most adept players. His Bill Clinton impression became his became an audience favorite, but his impersonations of Frank Sinatra, Ronald Reagan, Barbara Bush and others were als