Phil Hartman

  1. James Woods, Hercules, 1997.    The directors had no idea who should voice Hades.  “Why don’t you ask Jack?”suggested their Philoctetes, Danny Vito. Jack was keen. For his nomal fee – between $10m and $15m. Disney offered… $500,000.  Hence talks began with David Bowie, James Coburn, Willem Dafoe, Phil Hartman, Michael Ironside, Michael Keaton, Martin Landau, Broadway’s Terrence Mann, Ron Silver, Kevin Spacey, and Rod Steiger. Then, John Lithgow got the gig and recorded it all. Next thing he knew, Jimmy Woods was adlibbing Hades to glory with Robin Williams/Aladdinbravura.  And made it a growth industry with the TV series and  various video games. 

  2. Billy West, Futurama, TV, 1999-2013.   Our hero,  Fry, is cryogenically frozen (accidentally, of course) and wakes up in the year 3000… His first name, Philip, is in tribute to Hartman, first cast as military jerk,  Zapp Brannigan  – also played by voice-artist West, based on Hartman’s distinctive tones.  As can immediately be seen by the artwork, the show came from The Simpsons’ father, Matt Groening. 

    >> Flashback

    On May 28, 1998, when asleep at  his Encino home, Hartman was shot dead by his wife, Brynn. She left to find a friend. She showed him  the body and as he called the cops, she locked herself in the bedroom with the corpse and shot herself. A  coroner later said she  had alcohol, cocaine and an antidepressant in her system. Hartman was known as one of the nicest actors in LA,  a true pro and a joy to work with.  What else? 

 Birth year: Death year: 1998Other name: Casting Calls:  2