Twenty Two years ago, May 28, 1998, Phil Hartman, famed actor and Saturday Night Live cast member was tragically murdered by his wife, while their two children were sleeping in their in their Encino home. Brynn then turned the gun on herself and committed suicide.
In 1986, Hartman joined SNL and gained fame for his impressions, staying on the show for eight seasons until 1994. Nicknamed the "Glue" for his ability to hold the show together and help other cast members, Hartman won Primetime Emmy Award for his SNL work in 1989.
Earlier that night his wife Brynn had visited the Italian restaurant Buca di Beppo in Encino, California, with producer and writer Christine Zander, who said she was "in a good frame of mind". After returning home, Brynn had a "heated" argument with her husband, after which he went to bed. While Hartman slept, Brynn entered his bedroom sometime before 3:00 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time on May 28 with a .38 caliber handgun and fatally shot him once between the eyes, once in the throat and once in the upper chest. She was taking Zoloft, had been drinking alcohol and had recently used cocaine. Here is the original ABC Original News Report:
It was later discovered that after the shooting, Brynn drove to the home of her friend Ron Douglas and confessed to the killing, but initially he did not believe her. The pair drove back to the house in separate cars, and Brynn called another friend and confessed a second time. Upon seeing Hartman's body, Douglas called 911 at 6:20 a.m. Police arrived and escorted Douglas and the Hartmans' two children from the premises, by which time Brynn had locked herself in the bedroom and committed suicide.
Los Angeles police stated Hartman's death was caused by "domestic discord" between the couple. A friend alleged that Brynn "had trouble controlling her anger ... She got attention by losing her temper". A neighbor of the Hartmans told a CNN reporter that the couple had marital problems. Here is another ABC News Report with Dan Rather:
Prior to the killing, Brynn had been taking the antidepressant drug Zoloft. A wrongful-death lawsuit was filed in 1999 by Brynn's brother, Gregory Omdahl, against Pfizer, the drug's manufacturer, and her child's psychiatrist Arthur Sorosky, who provided samples of Zoloft to Brynn. Here are further details of the events leading up to the murder/suicide:
Months later, Hartman's friend and former SNL colleague Jon Lovitz has accused Hartman's then NewsRadio co-star Andy Dick of re-introducing Brynn to cocaine, causing her to relapse and suffer a nervous breakdown. Dick maintained his position to have known nothing of her condition, however he later broke down in an interview with Tom Green about his addiction to cocaine and giving Brynn the drug that led her to relapse leading up to the murder/suicide:
Brynn's sister Katharine Omdahl and brother-in-law Mike Wright raised the two Hartman children. Hartman's will stipulated that each child would inherit money over several years after turning 25.
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