Lists Recaps Reviews Interviews Explainers
Previews

Murder of SNL and The Simpsons actor Phil Hartman by wife Brynn Omdahl profiled on 20/20 on ID

Phil Hartman and Brynn Omdahl hugging
Phil Hartman and his wife Brynn Omdahl died in a suicide-murder in Los Angeles in 1998. Pic credit: ABC News/YouTube

20/20 on ID is investigating a Hollywood murder-suicide from 1998 when famous actor and comedian, Phil Hartman, was murdered by his wife, Brynn Omdahl, in the middle of the night as he slept.

Phil Hartman had been a successful comedian and actor who found fame working on Saturday Night Live. He went on to star in numerous movies and TV shows, including Coneheads and Small Soldiers. He also starred in The Simpsons, where he voiced Troy McClure and Lionel Hutz.

His wife Brynn Omdahl was a former model and an aspiring actress; however, she had considerably less success than her husband and reportedly harbored ill feelings and jealously towards him.

There are conflicting reports over the stability of their marriage, with some friends of the couple claiming they were having difficulties with their relationship. However, others, including actor Steve Guttenberg, said the couple appeared to have a normal happy marriage.

But most have agreed that Omdahl had a fierce temper and was a jealous-prone partner. She is thought to have penned threatening letters to at least one of Hartman’s ex-wives and another female friend.

She abused alcohol and narcotics, and on occasion, Hartman had to move their two young children from their Los Angeles home due to their mother’s substance abuse.

Brynn Omdahl shot Phil Hartman dead in their upmarket Los Angeles home

On the evening of May 27, 1998, Brynn Omdahl attended a restaurant with friends, who would later describe her mental state as normal when she left them to go home. But later that night, she shot Hartman as he slept in their bedroom.

At approximately 3 am, Omdahl, high on alcohol, cocaine, and anti-depressant drug Zoloft, shot Hartman three times with a handgun in the head, throat, and chest.

Omdahl then drove to her friend Ron Douglas’ home and confessed to him that she had murdered her husband. He refused to believe his friend but agreed to accompany her back to the house. When Douglas found Hartman’s body, he dialed 911.

When the police arrived at the scene, they immediately started escorting Douglas and the two unharmed children from the house. In the meantime, Omdahl had locked herself in the bedroom with her husband’s body.

Omdahl turned the gun on herself as her 6-year-old daughter was led from the house.

More from 20/20 on ID

Follow the links to read about more heinous and shocking crimes profiled on ID.

Amy Fisher was just 16-years-old when she began an affair with the middle-aged and married Joey Buttafuoco. A year later, the teenager was so consumed with jealously that she shot his wife, Mary Jo Buttafuoco, on the porch of her New York home.

Specialist Vanessa Guillén was murdered while on duty at Fort Hood, Texas. Specialist Aaron David Robinson killed her in the armory before burying her remains along a riverbank off-base. The crime unleashed an investigation into abusive behavior at the base.

20/20 on ID airs at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.

Jerry was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, but is now based in the UK. He specializes in true crime and entertainment news stories. When not writing for Monsters and Critics he loves watching history and political documentaries, as well as any comedy show. He spent many years as a retail manager in the wine and whisky industry before trying his hand at writing. He holds a Degree of Master of Arts in History from Edinburgh University.

Leave a Comment