Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Philip Edward Hartmann (September 24, 1948 – May 28, 1998) was a graphic artist, writer, actor and comedian born in Brantford, Ontario, Canada. Hartman became a US citizen in the early 1990s. The exact timing of his switch from "Hartmann" to "Hartman" is unknown, but all of his acting credits after 1986 were as "Hartman".
In 1975, he joined the California-based comedy group The Groundlings. Hartman met Paul Reubens while working with the Groundlings, and the two became friends, often writing and working on material together. One such collaboration was the character of Pee-Wee Herman. Phil Hartman also met Jon Lovitz while with The Groundlings.
Hartman also worked part time as a graphic artist, including designing album covers for popular rock bands. Hartman's covers include Poco's 1978 album Legend , Firesign Theatre's 1980 album Fighting Clowns , and three album covers for the band America: History: Greatest Hits in 1975, Harbor in 1977, and Silent Letter in 1979. Hartman also designed the logo for the band Crosby, Stills, and Nash.
In 1986, Phil Hartman joined the cast of NBC's popular variety show Saturday Night Live and stayed for eight seasons, which was a record at the time. Hartman was known for his impressions, which included Ronald Reagan, Frank Sinatra, Telly Savalas, Ed McMahon, Michael Caine, Jack Nicholson, Barbara Bush, Burt Reynolds, Phil Donahue, and former president Bill Clinton, which was perhaps his best known impression.
From 1991 to 1998, Hartman also provided the voices for a number of characters on the popular animated television series, The Simpsons. Hartman's characters included dubious attorney Lionel Hutz and B-movie actor Troy McClure.
Phil Hartman died on May 28, 1998 in his Encino, California home, when he was shot by his wife, Brynn Hartman. His wife then turned the gun on herself later that morning. The reasons for the murder/suicide are unknown, although friends of the Hartmans speculated in the press that the combination of their marriage problems and Brynn's drug addictions probably contributed.
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