Actor Phil Hartman Dead At 49 – Rolling Stone
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Actor Phil Hartman Dead At 49

Comedian Phil Hartman of “Saturday Night Live”
fame, was found slain Thursday morning at his Encino, Calif., home,
the victim of an apparent murder-suicide.

At 6:20 a.m. (PST), Los Angeles police responded to a call of
shots fired at a home in the 5000 block of Encino Avenue. Upon
entering the premises, police found Hartman’s body in his bed, dead
of an apparent gunshot wound. They also discovered two small
children — ages 6 and 9 — unharmed in the house.

While police were escorting the children outside they heard a
gunshot, leading them to the body of Hartman’s wife, Brynn, 40,
lying face up beside her husband in bed. According to CNN
and other reports, police surmise Mrs. Hartman shot her husband
sometime earlier and then turned the gun on herself. At press time,
Los Angeles police were still investigating the incident and had
not issued a formal statement.

Hartman, star of the NBC sitcom “News Radio,” was 49.

Hartman started his career in the entertainment business as a
graphic designer in the 1970s, when he created such memorable
trademarks as the intertwined logo for the rock group
Crosby, Stills and Nash in
1977.

A spokesman for the legendary rock trio told
JAMTV on Thursday the logo
was never used for any album cover designs, but it does appear on
the back of the band’s 1991 box set as well as all CSN merchandise
sold since 1977. “Phil was a great artist, in terms of album
designs,” he said. “He created something like 40 album covers for
different bands.”

In the early ’80s, Hartman launched his theatrical career with
L.A. comedy troupe the Groundlings, who released a
statement saying, “[Phil] will be greatly missed, not only by those
of us who knew him personally, but also by the millions of people
who appreciated his remarkable talent.”

It was with the troupe that Hartman met actor Paul
Reubens
, a.k.a. Pee-wee Herman, with whom
he co-wrote the script to the 1985 movie Pee-wee’s Big
Adventure
. Hartman continued to work with Reubens through 1990
on the hit children’s morning show “Pee-wee’s Playhouse,” in which
he portrayed the character Kap’n Karl.

Starting in 1986, Hartman became a regular on “Saturday Night
Live,” creating and perfecting dozens of celebrity impersonations,
including President Bill Clinton, Frank Sinatra, Jack
Nicholson
and Ed McMahon. He starred on
the show for eight seasons.

“Phil was blessed with a tremendous gift for creating characters
that made people laugh,” said NBC West Coast President Don
Ohlmeyer
in a statement. “More importantly, everyone who
had the pleasure of working with Phil knows that he was a man of
tremendous warmth, a true professional and a loyal friend who will
be deeply missed.”

Hartman also appeared on 49 episodes of the animated series “The
Simpsons,” during which time he created the voices for four
characters, including the well-known Troy McClure.

“Everyone at ‘The Simpsons’ is devastated by the death of Phil
Hartman,” “Simpsons” creator Matt Groening said in
a prepared statement. “His brilliant comic acting and easy-going
enthusiasm made him a joy to work with, and he will be sorely
missed.”

During his career, Hartman also starred in many movies,
including “Three Amigos,” “Fletch Lives,” “So I Married an Axe
Murderer” and “Jingle All The Way.” He stars in the upcoming
Dreamworks film “Small Soldiers.”

Newswire

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