It's been more than 14 years since his death, but Canadians have not forgotten Brantford, Ont.-born comedian Phil Hartman. In fact, an international campaign among Canadians at home and abroad will result in Hartman's name being set in stone on Canada's Walk of Fame. On Sept. 22, a ceremony will celebrate his achievements in entertainment, along with athlete Russ Jackson, musicians Randy Bachman and Sarah McLachlan, dancer Sonia Rodriguez, and the 1972 Team Canada hockey team.
The deep-voiced funnyman got his start designing rock and roll album covers, but became a household name with spots on "Saturday Night Live," "The Simpsons," "NewsRadio," and films like "Coneheads" and "So I Married an Axe Murderer." He was known as "the Glue" holding "SNL" together, and his signature smarmy style inspired many, but was replicated by none.
It was a sad day for people who love to laugh (meaning: everyone) when he was tragically killed in 1998. But thanks to the Internet, we can still relive his five best roles.
Bobby Coldsman ("Saturday Night Live")
Just one of his "SNL" highlights, Hartman's Bobby Coldsman is an acting coach who embodies everything that's wrong with the New York theatre scene (a scene that Hartman and his castmates knew all too well).
Lionel Hutz ("The Simpsons")
Hartman's great with overconfident characters -- and, in the case of Lionel Hutz, unreasonably overconfident characters. The hapless attempts of this talentless lawyer to sweet-talk juries and judges is made only more hilarious by Hartman's deep, suave vocals.
Bill McNeal ("NewsRadio")
Bill McNeal was an egocentric co-anchor for a radio news program on the NBC sitcom "NewsRadio," which aired from 1995 to 1999. Hartman died while the show was still on the air, so the writers were forced to write his character's death into the show at the start of the fifth season.
Troy McClure ("The Simpsons")
Troy McClure is a beloved character from "The Simpsons," and Hartman could pull off the pompous Hollywood actor like no other. "Simpsons" creator Matt Groening had also cast Hartman as the voice of Captain Zap Brannigan on "Futurama" before the actor's death.
Hartman was known for his voice work and impressions, channeling virtually any character, whether it was fictional or nonfictional. Watch his audition video for "Saturday Night Live" in 1985.
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