September 24, 1948 – May 28, 1998
“I’ve succeeded beyond my wildest dreams – financially and the mount of fun I have in my life.”
The Hartmans lived in Encino, California. Just around the corner from the Cha Cha Cha fine Caribbean Cuisine.
40 year old Brynn Hartman was slamming down margaritas at Buca di Bepo on Ventura Blvd, just a couple of blocks from the family home. She returned home sometime between 2 and 3 a.m., completely drunk and coked up. She had been drinking that night with a friend till 10 o’clock. I don’t know where she went after that.
From what I gather, their 11-year marriage was stormy at best. According to one account, she was upset because she had read a note from Phil the night before, implying that he wanted to end the marriage. Other reports state that they were in counseling, and things were improving. Whatever the cause, she was definitely having a bad day.
There is an odd topiary rabbit in front of it. I can only hope that it was there prior to them moving in and they planned to destroy it (maybe that’s what set her off.).
49 year-old Phil was asleep in bed, wearing a purple T-shirt and boxer shorts with cartoon Dachshunds on them, from The GAP. True. She shot him 3 times: in the forehead, neck and forearm. Weirdly, it was the forearm bullet that killed him. It reentered his chest, and got him that way.
After she killed him, she went to a friend’s (Hello. I’ve just murdered my husband, and I’ve come to involve you. (stolen from John Waters)) house and told him, “I shot Phil.” He didn’t believe her. She fell asleep, and friend searched her purse, and found a Smith and Wesson revolver. Friend put it in a plastic SAV-ON grocery bag. Product placement. Brynn woke up three hours later, and she took the friend back to the scene. Friend checks out that Phil is indeedy deady dead dead, and calls 911.
“Yeah, hi…um…I think there’s been a shooting here. She came to my house and she was drunk. She said she had killed her husband and I didn’t believe her.”
Shortly after the police arrived at 6:20 a.m., Brynn locked herself in the bedroom. Friend gave police the revolver, and they escort the couple’s 2 children from the premises. Police tried to talk Brynn out of the bedroom, but she crying hysterically and wasn’t budging. They broke a bedroom window to try to distract her. It didn’t work. Well, not the way they intended it to. She pulled out another gun, stuck it in her mouth, and pulled the trigger. Cops broke down the door, and found her unresponsive. They confiscated the gun. She was wearing white cotton T-shirt with the number 9 on the chest (also from The GAP), and brown argyle socks. Oh, the indignity.
Both of them were lying on the King-size bed. Phil was lying on his right side, and Brynn’s head was on a pillow.
Their bodies were removed and taken to the Medical Examiners for an autopsy. Upon examination, it showed that Brynn’s had consumed alcohol, cocaine and an antidepressant, Zoloft.
The official verdict was murder/suicide.
Their bodies were cremated at Forest Lawn Glendale. There was a funeral service on the 4th of June, attended by the kids. Their ashes were supposedly scattered off Catalina Island, per Phil’s will.
Brynn’s family is suing the makers of Zoloft.
This just in, June 2000, from Findadeath.com friend Allie:
Just wanted to let you know that it wasn’t the bullet through the forearm that killed Phil as you say, it was the shot to the head. The bullet through the forearm was the 3rd shot and a fatal one BUT the bullet in the head was the first. It was also considered a fatal one. The real oddity is the one through the neck; if it had been the only one then he would have lived. Probably voiceless though and that would have certainly been unbearable for a man such as he was. Also as a side note the makers of Zoloft have settled the case out of court and the kids won (I believe) $10,000 each. This was just announced on the second anniversary of Phil’s death, May 28th of this year.
August 2000 – got this from another Findadeath.com friend: You may or may not know this already, and discard it, but…
Another one of the rough spots in the marriage between Phil and Brynn Hartman was his success in show business, and her repeated failure in her attempts to make anything of herself in the spotlight. Remember the old Saturday Night Live intros, while Phil was on the show? When they flash to him in a restaurant booth, you see a blond woman just in front of him, with her back to the camera, and one of her earrings swinging slightly. That woman is Brynn. In filming that little clip, they’d had to shoot it and reshoot it because Brynn had kept trying to turn her head to get her face in the shot. (Hence the reason for that little swing to her earring.) Useless fact? Maybe, but still a little creepyneat.
Thank ya kindly – S
Findadeath.com friend Dennis L. sends this: Phil was born in Brantford, Ontario. Only a few months before he was killed, his hometown honored him with a plaque on their Walk of Fame, for city folk done good. His wife did not attend the ceremony. Last year, Phil’s brother started a comedy showcase there, in honor of his brother.
This just in, January 2003, from Findadeath friend Jbaadsk:
I have talked to an expert witness that was going to testify in the lawsuit against the makers of Zoloft. There was evidence that most of the alcohol and cocaine was ingested after the killing. She had also been complaining to friends that she felt odd after taking the Zoloft, which was given to her as a sample pack. The settlement was undisclosed and more than $10,000. The makers of Paxil lost a lawsuit in
Wyoming last year. It was found that Paxil caused a man to kill his wife, daughter and granddaughter. These meds have a side-effect called Akathisia which has been linked to violence. The also can cause Mania and Psychosis.
Phil was a founding member of The Groundlings – a comedy group in LA that has launched skads of performers that are very famous. When I visited recently, I saw that their auditorium is dedicated to Phil.
I thank Findadeath.com friend Terri Rios for her terrific photographs.
Guess what this is.