You Might Remember Me: The Life and Times of Phil Hartman
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Beloved TV comedic actor Phil Hartman is best known for his eight brilliant seasons on Saturday Night Live, where his versatility and comedic timing resulted in some of the funniest and most famous sketches in the television show's history. Besides his hilarious impersonations of Phil Donahue, Frank Sinatra and Bill Clinton, Hartman's other indelible characters included Cirroc the Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer, Eugene the Anal Retentive Chef and, of course, Frankenstein. He also starred as pompous radio broadcaster Bill McNeal in the NBC sitcom NewsRadio and voiced numerous classic roles ― most memorably washed-up actor and commercial pitchman Troy McClure ― on Fox's long-running animated hit The Simpsons.
But Hartman's seemingly charmed life was cut tragically short when he was fatally shot by his troubled third wife, Brynn, who turned a gun on herself several hours later. The shocking and headline-generating turn of events stunned those closest to the couple as well as countless fans who knew Phil only from afar.
Now, for the first time ever, the years and moments leading up to his untimely end are described in illuminating detail through information gleaned from exclusive interviews with scores of famous cast mates, close friends and family members as well as private letters, audio/video recordings, extensive police records, and more.
Both joyous tribute and serious biography, Mike Thomas' You Might Remember Me is a celebration of Phil Hartman's multi-faceted career and an exhaustively reported, warts-and-all examination of his often intriguing and sometimes complicated life―a powerful, humor-filled and disquieting portrait of a man who was loved by many, admired by millions and taken from them far too early.
told then Rolling Stone contributor Bill Zehme. “Jan, Phil, and I had never done live television.” Phil added, “We didn’t know whether we were going to fall on our faces.” Next comes Lovitz, reprising his Groundlings character the Pathological Liar, before Phil, Carvey, and Hooks (as dim-witted contestant Lane Maxwell and his perky competitor Marge Keister) return for a game show called Quiz Masters. Phil, predictably, plays host Bill Franklin. Owing to his jaunty bearing and stentorian tone,
knew each other. Like, ‘Oh, my God, Brynn, people aren’t even going to watch the show because you happen to be standing here.’ And I think that was really important to Phil.” “He needed to be with a knockout,” she says. “That was something I was so naïve about. I didn’t understand that part of Hollywood, where it is as important as getting on Saturday Night Live or being a known name to have somebody that everyone turns their head [to see] when they walk into the room.” * * * Sometime that
followed. Come-hither sexy, yes, but never angry. It was a portrayal to which Clinton himself took only a partial shine. Phil claimed not to mind. Meanwhile, on May 22, 1992, Carson abdicated his Tonight Show throne. When he’d announced his plans during a broadcast the previous spring, a storied behind-the-scenes battle to fill his seat commenced. Ultimately and famously, comic and Tonight’s longtime permanent guest host Jay Leno won. At some point thereafter, Phil was invited to play a more
making some incremental progress,” Phil said in another message to the Mulherns. Once Maxwell, Woodard, and Gallen were “in place,” they could “work out an overall strategy and start staffing up for the pilot.” Things looked more promising by the day. “He really felt like this was going to be his big solo break,” says Gallen, who thought likewise. “It had so much potential to be a really groundbreaking, unique sketch comedy show from a different point of view.” * * * As Phil’s days on SNL
to seven P.M. Monday through Friday—sometimes later. But since Brynn had given her no advance warning, Lorraine declined because she needed to study for finals. Soon, though, she reconsidered and said she could stay. Brynn seemed pleased and gave Lorraine the OK to leave when Phil pulled in. At around 7:30 P.M., Brynn emerged wearing dark jeans, black boots, and a pinstriped navy blue blazer. After saying good-bye to the kids, telling them she’d probably be home before their bedtimes, she headed