Best known for his deadpan antics and celebrity impersonations on Saturday Night Live, Phil Hartman got his start working with comedian Paul Reubens to develop the hit movie, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure and its subsequent TV series.
Born in Brantford, Ontario, on September 24, 1948, Phil and his family immigrated to the United States when he was ten. After he graduated from California State University, Northridge, with a degree in graphic arts, Phil developed his own graphic arts business, which created over 40 album covers for bands; including Poco and America, as well as the logo for Crosby, Stills & Nash.
In the late 1970s, he made his first television appearance on an episode of The Dating Game; Phil won, but was stood up by his date.
In the late 1980's, Phil joined the team on the comedy show, "Saturday Night Live" and stayed on the show for eight seasons. Called "the Glue" for his ability to hold the show together, and help other cast members, Hartman won a Primetime Emmy Award for his SNL work, in 1989.
Hartman's first starring film role came in 1995's HOUSEGUEST. Other films included Greedy, Coneheads, Sgt. Bilko, So I Married an Axe Murderer, CB4, Jingle All the Way and Small Soldiers; the last of which was his final theatrically released film.
Other TV series that Hartman lent his talent include: NEWSRADIO, 3RD ROCK FROM THE SUN, THE SIMPSONS, and HAPPILY EVER AFTER: FAIRY TALES FOR EVERY CHILD.
Off-screen, Hartman reportedly had marital difficulties with his wife, Brynn, who had struggled for years with drug and alcohol abuse.
Tragedy struck Phil on May 28, 1998, when his wife, Brynn, who had been struggling for years with drug and alcohol abuse, shot Hartman to death while he was sleeping in their Encino, California, home. She shot herself shortly after, leaving behind a son and a daughter, Sean and Birgen.
Phil Hartman's film credits include:
1980 The Gong Show Movie
1980 Cheech & Chong's Next Movie
1984 Weekend Pass
1985 Pee-wee's Big Adventure
1985 Last Resort
1986 Jumpin' Jack Flash
1986 Three Amigos!
1986 Blind Date
1987 The Brave Little Toaster
1987 Amazon Women on the Moon
1989 Fletch Lives =
1989 How I Got Into College
1990 Quick Change
1993 Loaded Weapon 1
1993 So I Married an Axe Murderer
1994 Greedy Frank
1995 The Crazysitter