Phil Hartman

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    Philip Edward "Phil" Hartman (September 24, 1948 -- May 28, 1998) was an immensely talented Canadian-born comedian and actor famous for starring on Saturday Night Live from 1986 to 1994 [1], for his guest appearances on The Simpsons as incompetent attorney Lionel Hutz and washed-up B-movie actor Troy McClure, and for starring as Bill McNeal on the sitcom News Radio.

    Hartman has been consistently praised as one of SNL's best performers. His celebrity impressions included Frank Sinatra, Charlton Heston, Ronald Reagan, Ed McMahon, Kirk Douglas, Barbara Bush and Bill Clinton. His original characters included Eugene the Anal-Retentive Chef and The Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer. His ability to adapt to any performance earned him the nickname "Glue" from co-star Adam Sandler.

    On May 28, 1998, while he was still sleeping, Hartman was shot to death by his wife Brynn, who was under the influence of drugs and killed herself shortly afterward.

    The outpouring of sympathy was immense. Simpsons creator Matt Groening had Hartman's characters Hutz and McClure retired from The Simpsons, named Futurama protagonist Phillip J. Fry in honor of Hartman, and News Radio pressed on one more season, this time with his friend Jon Lovitz, before being cancelled, because as his castmates put it, "Phil would've wanted us to."

    Selected filmography:
    Phil Hartman provides examples of the following tropes:
    1. considered by many to be the show's second Golden Age after fumbling around blindly in mediocrity from 1980 with Jean Doumanian's cast to 1985 with Lorne Michaels' return with a disjointed cast and bizarre writing