The Tragic Murder-Suicide That Took Phil Hartman’s Talented Life

The "Saturday Night Live" star's own wife shot him while he slept. Why?

By Gina Tron

Phil Hartman was an actor and comedian with a prolific career, famous for his sketches on "Saturday Night Live" and for his voice acting appearances on the Simpsons.

His colleagues described him as a low-key celebrity and a family man. He and his wife Brynn shared two children together.

On May 28, 1998, Phil was shot three times in his sleep by his wife of ten years.

At about 6:20 a.m., someone called 911 to report that a shooting in the Hartman household. When police arrived they found the couple’s young children, aged 9 and 6 at the time, unharmed. According to CNN, police heard a single shot from a bedroom of the home while they were ushering out the children.

Both Phil and Brynn were found dead in the couple’s bedroom.

"We know for sure (Brynn Hartman) inflicted her own gunshot wound, and she apparently shot herself as the officers were in the house," Lt. Anthony Alba of the Los Angeles Police Department said at the time. "Mr. Hartman had been dead for a while. He did not die at the same time that Mrs. Hartman apparently killed herself."

According to Salon, after Brynn killed Phil she went to a friend’s home inebriated and hysterical. She confessed that she murdered her husband. Then, the concerned friend returned to the Hartman home with Brynn.

“Oh, my God, he’s dead!” Brynn reportedly said. “I told you I did! I told you I did! I killed him! I killed him! I don’t know why!”

That friend was the one who called 911.

Phil and Brynn had a tumultuous marriage and several of Phil’s friends did not approve.

The night of the murder the two reportedly got into an argument over her drug use. Cocaine use and alcohol was reportedly a factor. 

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