It’s been more than 20 years since actor and comedy icon Phil Hartman, best known for his roles on The Simpsons and NewsRadio and his impersonation of Bill Clinton on Saturday Night Live, was murdered by his wife, Brynn. Now, ABC News is taking a look at the life, legacy, and tragic death of the actor with the two-hour special The Last Days of Phil Hartman, and EW has an exclusive sneak peek above.
On May 28, 1998, Brynn — later revealed by the toxicology results to be intoxicated and under the influence of cocaine and Zoloft — shot her husband three times and drove to her friend Ron Douglas’ house, where she confessed to the murder. She later returned home, where she died by suicide, leaving behind their daughter, Birgen, and son, Sean.
In the trailer, friends and costars express their initial (and continued) shock and grief over the murder, while Hartman’s NewsRadio costar Andy Dick fights back tears talking about his friend’s comedic talents.
“There’s never going to anybody that can fill his shoes,” says Dick, who later admits to sharing cocaine with Brynn while at a holiday party, not realizing the extent of her problem.
In addition to an exclusive interview with Brynn’s brother Gregory Omdahl, and exclusive home videos of the Hartman family, the special, set to air Sept. 19, will feature a never-before-seen interview with the actor. “In my old age,” Hartman, who was a few months shy of his 50th birthday when he was killed, says during one clip, “I’ve come to realize just how precious everything is. I mean, anything can happen in this world.”
Hartman’s SNL costar Julia Sweeney, NewsRadio costar Vicki Lewis, The Simpsons executive producer Al Jean, and more also sit down for the special, as well as the first officers on the scene and close family friends.
The Last Days of Phil Hartman will air Thursday, Sept. 19 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.