Phil Hartman (September 24, 1948-May 28, 1998) voiced Troy McClure and Lionel Hutz on The Simpsons, and also voiced the Air Conditioner in The Brave Little Toaster, impersonating Jack Nicholson's voice.
Born as Philip Edward Hartmann, he was born in Brantford, Ontario on September 24, 1948. He was one of eight children to Roman Catholics Doris and Rupert Hartmann. Rupert was a building material salesman. When Hartman was ten, his family immigrated to Connecticut, United States before moving to the West Coast, where he attended Westchester High School. They gained American citizenship in 1990. He went on to study art at Santa Monica City College, but dropped out in 1969 to become a roadie for a rock band. He went on to studying graphic arts at California State University, Northridge in 1972. While there, he created his own graphics arts business and created over 40 album covers. He had his first television appearance in 1979 on The Dating Game. While working alone, he amused himself with "flights of voice fantasies". He started to develop his talent by attending evening comedy classes.
Early career and Pee-wee Herman He joined the improvastional comedy group The Groundlings in 1975 - while watching one of their performances and impulsively climbed on stage and joined in with the cast. He met Paul Reubens, and began collaborating with him. They created Pee-wee Herman, and developed the stage show, which also aired on HBO, The Pee-wee Herman Show. In the show, Hartman played Captain Carl, as well as in the children's show Pee-wee's Playhouse. He also co-wrote Pee-wee's Big Adventure, a film based on the character. He had a cameo as a news reporter. At this moment in time, Hartman considered quitting the acting business, due to limited opportunities. Pee-wee's Big Adventure opened up new new possibillites for Hartman. After a creative fallout with Reubens, Hartman left Pee-wee Herman to pursue other roles.
During his time working on Pee-wee Herman, he had a number of voice-over roles, including shows such as The Smurfs, Challenge of GoBots and The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo. He also voice Henry Mitchell and George Wilson in Dennis the Menace as well as providing voice-over for advertisements.
Saturday Night LiveEdit
In 1986, Hartman joined Saturday Night Live, as part of the cast and writing staff. He was known backstage as "the Glue". He was there for eight seasons, and became known for his impressions of over 70 characters including Frank Sinatra, Barbara Bush, Ronald Reagan and Ed McMahon. He was nominated for three Emmy's while on the show, and won one in 1989 for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program.
His most famous and last impression on the show was Bill Clinton; he also did this on The Tonight Show. Later, in 1993, he met Clinton and said "I guess I owe you a few apologies", but Clinton showed good humor, a sent him a signed photo with "You're not the president, but you play one on TV. And you're OK, mostly." One of his most famous sketches as Clinton involved him visiting a McDonald's and explaining his policies by eating customers' food, namely explaining US intervention in Somalia as he explains how international food aid is ineffective to Somalia as it keeps getting intercepted by warlords. Clinton, pretending to be a warlord, takes bites out of McDonald's food. Hartman then explained that American troops would protect food shipments so it reaches the people who need it (but then takes one more bite of a cheeseburger).
Hartman left SNL in 1994, after almost all his co-stars left. He planned to leave in 1991, but was convinced to stay to raise his profile, and NBC persuaded him to stay by promising him his own show called The Phil Show. He planned to "reinvent the variety form" with "a hybrid, very fast-paced, high energy [show] with sketches, impersonations, pet acts, and performers showcasing their talents." The show was scrapped, as variety shows were too unpopular. He later revealed he was glad the show had been scrapped, because as executive producer and head writer he "would've been sweatin' blood each week trying to make it work."
Instead Hartman joined the cast of NBC's new sitcom NewsRadio, playing the smarmy anchor Bill McNeal. He received an Emmy nomination for the role and remained on the show until his death. Hartman also appeared in numerous films including Jingle All the Way, Sgt. Bilko and Houseguest. Another show Hartman had a guest role on was Third Rock from the Sun. He had starred on the final episode of the 1996-1997 season where he kidnaps one of the main characters which was supposed to be resolved in a cliffhanger, but his death made it impossible. As a result, the producers scrapped the season finale and reshot it with another plot. Phil Hartman's final movie was Small Soldiers, directed by Joe Dante. The film debuted after Hartman's death and a post-credits blooper reel was done dedicated in his memory.
Work on The SimpsonsEdit
- Bart Gets Hit By a Car as Lionel Hutz
- Homer vs. Lisa and the 8'th Commandment as Troy McClure, the Cable Guy and Moses
- Old Money as Lionel Hutz and Plato
- Burns Verkaufen Der Kraftwerk as Horst
- Marge vs. the Monorail as Lyle Lanley
- Brother From the Same Planet as Tom
- Marge in Chains as Lionel Hutz
- The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular as Troy McClure
- A Fish Called Selma as Troy McClure
- The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase as Troy McClure
- Realty Bites as Lionel Hutz (final appearance)
- All Singing, All Dancing as Lyle Lanley
- Bart the Mother as Troy McClure (final appearance)
- Lionel Hutz
- Troy McClure
- Mr. Muntz
- Lyle Lanley
- Evan Conover
- "Smooth" Jimmy Apollo
- Fat Tony
- The Godfather (character)
- Bill Clinton
- The Cable Guy
Hartman was murdered by his third wife Brynn on May 28, 1998 at the age of 49. He was deeply mourned by many people after his death.