Thursday, May 27, 2010

Phil HARTMAN Memoriam (Sept 24, 1948 – May 28, 1998)

Phil HARTMAN was another of the comics who rose to stardom through his appearances on popular TV comedy show SNL in the 1990's.  He was also Canadian born in Brantford ON but moved to the U.S with his family when he was 10 years old. (It is unknown if he eventually adopted American citizenship like so many other Hollywood stars.)

He was a victim of Domestic Violence - although it is unlikely that would ever be reported that way.

Phil Hartman was shot 3 times (twice to the head, once on the right side of his body) with a .38 by his wife of 10 years Brynn on May 28, 1998.  Although twice divorced before he finally met and married Brynn Omdahl in 1987 they had 2 children together (son Sean, dob=1989 and daughter Birgen, dob=1992). But they apparently had an troubled marriage (according to the account from People) that was fractured by Brynn's battle with drug addiction.  The evening before their deaths they had supposedly argued about ending their marriage - with Phil threatening to end it over her drug relapse.  According to the People magazine article:
In the last few months, Brynn had been in and out of rehab; earlier this year she checked into an Arizona clinic, where she stayed for only four or five days before leaving. Several days before the homicide, Brynn—who had been taking an antidepressant that can cause violent outbursts if mixed with alcohol or drugs—began drinking and using cocaine again, according to her close friends. Brynn's erratic behavior from drug use, says a TV producer who knew the Hartmans, led their housekeeper to quit 10 days before the shootings. And Jeannie Petersen, a childhood friend of Brynn's who stayed in touch with her, says Brynn wanted out of the marriage. "Sometimes she'd call me and she'd be real hurt," Petersen says. "He wouldn't give her a divorce. For two years she was trying to get it." Others say it was Hartman who wanted out. "This," says the TV producer, "was not a happy household." 
Interestingly Phil continued to be friends with Lisa Strain - his second wife, and she was aware of the tension in his marriage to the less secure Brynn.
"He told me she'd create scenes and throw fits," says his second wife, Strain, who sent Hartman a letter congratulating him on the birth of his son in 1988. "Brynn wrote me back four pages of the most hideous vitriol you could imagine," says Strain. "I called Phil and said, 'Do you have any idea who you are married to?' And he said, 'You should've seen the letter she wanted to send.'" Strain says Hartman "wanted to do whatever he could to make this marriage work." And yet he couldn't stop his habit of drifting away from the woman who needed him most. "It was a pleasure to see how Phil interacted with people," says his pal Small. "And yet I have a feeling that Brynn got none of that."
After the murder, Brynn went a longtime friend Ron Douglas' home and confessed - but he did not believe her, yet after she called another acquaintance to confess - he finally drove her back to the Hartman home.  Once there - shocked - he called 911, and as the police arrived and accompanied the children and Douglas out they heard the gunshot of Brynn's suicide.  Brynn's married sister Katherine Kay Wright, who lives in Eau Claire, WI took in the two orphaned children.

[Update May 29, 2014 - Autopsy Report of Phil Hartman]

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