Saturday Night Live said goodbye to Jan Hooks earlier this week, but even though she’s the only former cast member who has passed recently, Hooks isn’t the one whose death is in the news. New details have emerged about the tragic murder of SNL and Newsradio actor Phil Hartman at the hands of his wife Brynn in 1998, many of which were previously unknown to the public.
Mike Thomas’ new biography of Hartman, You Might Remember Me: The Life and Times of Phil Hartman, is excavating the past with fresh details of what exactly transpired the night that Phil was murdered. The gritty details of the case caused it to be heavily guarded with secrecy in order to protect the Hartman family. But now, Thomas deftly describes the scene to answer lingering questions about how exactly Brynn killed Phil, sampled in an except published by Salon.
“Sometime in the next couple of hours, as Phil sleeps with his bent right leg exposed atop the sheet and cover and his left arm extended straight out beneath him, Brynn enters the master bathroom suite. There, on a closet shelf, is the metal lockbox in which she and Phil keep their firearms and gun supplies. Extracting his Smith & Wesson.38, she returns to where her husband lies.”
“From her side of the bed, she takes aim and fires the first shot. A second and a third follow. One strikes the right side of Phil’s neck, just lateral to his chin. Another enters through his posterior right forearm, exits out the anterior, and re-enters his right lower chest. Both are fired from no more than eighteen inches away, the latter causing a fatal wound. The most damaging shot, also fatal, is fired at point-blank or nearly point-blank range and enters just above the bridge of Phil’s nose, passing through his skull and brain before it comes to rest. Death is quick, perhaps instantaneous. Incongruously, he seems to be smiling, as if in the middle of a sweet dream.”
Brynn then fled to a friend’s home where she eventually confessed to murdering Phil, though she was so intoxicated he initially did not believe her. Brynn then returned home where she made upsetting calls to friends and family members before joining Hartman in death.
“Settling into her king-sized bed with Phil’s body, she props herself up against the headboard with a pillow. In her right hand is the Charter Arms.38-caliber five-shooter she has owned for years and fired countless times. Inserting its two-inch barrel into her mouth, she squeezes the trigger. A fatal bullet passes through her brain and lodges in the headboard. Her head slumps toward Phil and her shooting hand drops to the right, almost touching him. Her index finger is still on the trigger.”
After Phil Hartman’s death, he was nominated for an Emmy for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his work on Newsradio. Hartman lost the award to Fraiser‘s David Hyde Pierce.
[Image via Murderpedia]