The fact that actor Phil Hartman died in a tragic way is well known, but exactly how he died still shocks many people. Our Brynn Hartman wiki will give you all the insight you need, as it was his wife who actually killed the beloved comedic actor. From Brynn’s younger days, to her turbulent relationship with Phil Hartman, to what happened the night they died, we’ve got everything you need to know about this dream of stardom gone horribly wrong.
Brynn Hartman: Early Life & Addiction
Brynn Hartman was born Vicki Jo Omdahl on April 11, 1958 in the small town of Thief River Falls, Minnesota.
Her father was Donald Gene Omdahl, an engineer, and her mother was Constance Faye Omdahl (nee Arnold), a retail shop owner. Brynn’s siblings are Gregory Clark Omdahl and Katherine Kelly Omdahl (now Wright).
Brynn was an average student but eventually dropped out of high school.
In 1977, at 19 years old, she married telephone operator Douglas Torfin and they lived in Thief River Falls. But they soon divorced.
Then began kind of a typical “small town girl with Hollywood dreams” story. But no one knew at that point that it would end in tragedy.
Vicki Jo’s dream was to be a success in the entertainment industry. So when her marriage was over, she tried her hand at modeling in Minneapolis. Her next step was moving to Hollywood to pursue acting.
Before becoming Brynn Hartman, the aspiring model-actress also went by the name Brindon Cahn.
Like many other young people with her aspirations, after moving to Hollywood, she began a struggle with cocaine and alcohol. By 1986, she had already gone to rehab.
But when she waltzed into the life of a certain notable actor, he didn’t seem to care about her rough past. That’s where the story of Phil and Brynn Hartman began.
Brynn and Phil Hartman: Love & Pain
In the mid-‘80s, Brynn was working as a swimsuit model when she met Phil Hartman. Hartman was comedian-actor who was born in Ontario, Canada, but raised in California.
The two first met on a blind date in 1986, the same year Phil ended up landing his career-making spot on Saturday Night Live. Tall, blonde, and blue-eyed, the comedian was immediately entranced by her beauty.
Their relationship moved quickly and they moved into a small apartment in Manhattan. Despite their many heated fights, they got married in 1987. She was Phil’s third wife.
In 1989, Brynn gave birth to their first child, a son they named Sean Edward. Despite reports of their volatile relationship, and many accounts of Brynn’s wildly jealous ways, the couple had another child in 1992, a daughter they named Birgen Anika.
Although they loved their children, they became less fond of each other over time, which began to cause their marriage to dissolve.
Envious of Her Husband’s Stardom
Frustrated at her own lack of career progress, Brynn grew more jealous over Phil’s growing success as an actor.
After SNL, he landed big roles in other lucrative TV shows like The Simpsons and News Radio and in big-screen movies like Jingle All the Way.
Meanwhile, her only acting credits included a role as a waitress in 1994’s North and a bit role in the hit 1998 sitcom 3rd Rock from the Sun. And some believe she only landed those roles because of her husband.
In hopes of becoming more competitive in the Hollywood industry, Brynn had plastic surgery done to improve her appearance. She had breast enhancements and some facial plastic surgery. However, it seemed to have no impact on her career.
She also tried her hand at writing. Along with Sherree Guitar, the mother of one of her kids’ classmates, Brynn penned a screenplay called Reckless Abandon. It’s said to be a dark comedy, involving drugs and murder. But nothing came of it.
Her growing rage at her inability to achieve fame and success began to take new forms, with her throwing fits when Phil received fan mail. She would often show up to his sets and cause violent scenes.
Jealousy Bubbles Over…
The jealousy didn’t stop there. In fact, there was even a time when Brynn sent Phil’s second ex-wife, Lisa Strain, a threatening four-page letter for sending them a card to congratulate them on the birth of their son. According to Mike Thomas’ biographical book, The Life and Times of Phil Hartman, Brynn’s letter said she would rip Strain’s eyes out if she ever contacted Phil again!
Their marriage became increasingly worse over time. Brynn would seemingly schedule their arguments to occur right before Phil’s important SNL dress rehearsals.
SNL/MAD TV writer Dawna Kaufmann recalled when Brynn sat on the laps of the male writers and cast mates, and allegedly put her tongue in their ears while kissing them. Phil laughed as he witnessed what his wife was doing, which confused Kaufmann.
The relationship between them got so bad they attempted marriage counselling. However, it got to a point where Phil just didn’t care to show up and even began rejecting Brynn in the bedroom.
Brynn resorted back to her addictive ways. She was soon forced to go back to rehab. However, she only lasted a few days before she left, claiming she missed their kids too much. She still needed help and didn’t get it, and her moods became increasingly worse. So, the doctors prescribed her Zoloft, which she then began to mix with alcohol.
And it was all downhill from there.
Phil Hartman’s Murder
Those close to them knew the truth about the cracks in the Hartmans’ marriage, but no one ever imagined how bad it could get.
On May 27, 1998, Brynn met with a friend for drinks and later visited her old friend, stunt coordinator Ron Douglas. She vented about her failed career and marriage, and how Phil’s marijuana habit left him “out of it” often.
According to reports, Brynn downed two cosmopolitans and a beer that night, but Douglas claimed she didn’t seem that drunk.
Brynn then went back to the Encino, California home she shared with Phil at 5065 Encino Ave.
She got into a heated argument with her husband, who went to bed after threatening to leave her if she started using drugs again.
Later that night, at about 2:30-3:00 a.m., Brynn grabbed Phil’s Smith & Wesson .38. She shot Phil three times (twice in the head, once in the arm, which also penetrated his side) while he was sleeping in their bedroom, killing him instantly. The kids were also asleep at the time, just down the hall.
Reports says she had taken cocaine and was intoxicated.
Shortly after she killed Phil, Brynn returned to her friend Douglas’ home and confessed what she had done. She handed the gun over to him.
Douglas didn’t believe her. Some three hours later, he followed her home and came to learn she was telling the truth when he found Phil’s body.
Douglas called the police as Brynn locked herself in the bedroom. She called her sister in Wisconsin and said, “Tell the kids I love them.”
After the police arrived, at around 6:21 a.m., Brynn shot herself.
She had gotten into bed next to her husband’s body, placed a different gun (a Charter Arms .38) in her mouth, and pulled the trigger.
The children, still in their pajamas, were taken into police custody. They were eventually handed over to Brynn’s sister, who raised them. They were nine and six years old at the time of the tragedy.
The deaths were ruled a murder-suicide, though there was no confirmed motive for the murder. No suicide note. But the Los Angeles police department stated that Hartman’s death was caused by a “domestic discord” between the two.
It was later confirmed that Brynn had Zoloft, cocaine, and alcohol in her system that night.
Brynn’s anger issues likely impacted the incident, combined with the drugs and medication she had taken.
Their children were left a hefty inheritance of an estimated $1.23 million. Phil’s will stipulated that the kids would only receive their trust either upon completion of college or when they reached the age of 25. Brynn’s brother was named executor and trustee of the estate and sued Pfizer (Zoloft’s parent company) on behalf of the children. They later received a settlement.
Saying Goodbye to a Comedic Legend
At the time of the murder-suicide, Phil Hartman was 49 years old and Brynn Hartman was 40.
Shortly after their deaths, a funeral ceremony was privately held at Church of the Recessional at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California. Both Brynn and Phil were cremated. Their ashes were to be scattered over Santa Catalina Island.
Brynn and Phil Hartman’s Children Now
Sean Hartman, 30 this year, has kept entirely out of the public eye. Some social media investigation suggests he may have inherited the funny gene from his father, as he may be doing some stand-up comedy at small bars and clubs. This information cannot be confirmed though.
His sister Birgen Hartman, now 26, is engaged to her fiancé Brandon. She’s blond and beautiful, like her late mother Brynn Hartman.
The young couple have a business together called DexaFit. According to Birgen’s Instagram, they got engaged in January 2015.
She’s made a few public appearances at events in honor of her late father, including SNL 40, the 40th anniversary show of Saturday Night Live.
Phil Hartman Doc Special
The Reelz network is airing a documentary special, Phil Hartman: Behind Closed Doors. In it, his friends, family, and coworkers talk with host Natalie Morales about his life, and more importantly, his terrible death at the hands of Brynn Hartman.
Watch the trailer here: