Phil Hartman was known for his everyman charm on “Saturday Night Live,” where he thrived from 1986 to 1994 (via Biography). Fellow comedian and actor Jon Lovitz said, “He could do any voice, play any character, make his face look different without makeup.” After winning an Emmy for his writing prowess, Phil left “SNL” and appeared in many film and television features, such as “Jingle All the Way” and “News Radio.”
Phil gave a very happy impression to friends and family, with Steve Guttenberg remarking how he and his wife, Brynn, “were always a happy couple… they always had the appearance of being well-balanced” (via Chicago Tribune). However, the reality was quite different. Brynn had a violent temper that was exacerbated by drugs and alcohol. During her jealous fits of rage, Hartman typically moved to the bedroom, where he would rest or sleep, hoping she would calm down.
In May 27, 1998, Brynn had dinner with a friend. When she returned home, an argument broke out with Phil, who retired to the bedroom as usual. In the small hours of the morning, Brynn entered the room and shot her husband with a handgun, striking him in the head and chest and killing her 49-year-old husband instantly. Brynn committed suicide hours later.
If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website. If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).