A fascinating blog post by Mark Pattison at CNS reveals a side of the late comedian many may not know (I sure didn’t!).
Mark writes about a phone interview he did with Hartman in which the comic reflected on the death of his father and touched on his own Catholic upbringing:
“Our faith prepares us for what lies ahead, and tells us that it’s a mystery to us, and we tremble before that mystery,” Hartman said in part. Moreover, he spoke in slow, measured tones, slow enough for me to be able to capture every word he was saying even without the aid of a tape recorder.
“Faith has guided me to believe it’s a rebirth. We are set free from this mortal coil, and we’ll see wonders beyond our imagination. We’ll get close to the Creator. I’ve believed that all my life even when I’ve questioned other aspects of my faith. I’ll be there with my father in heaven,” Hartman said. I remember needing to ask no questions.…Three weeks after the interview, I came back to my cubicle from lunch to see a sheet of paper torn off the Reuter newswire resting on my chair: Phil Hartman, wife dead in murder-suicide. I audibly gasped. A new story had to be written. All the comments Hartman had made about his father took on added resonance with his own death.
And therein lay a conundrum. Celebrities are no less immune than the rest of the population to having grown nominally Catholic. Hartman was no exception. Just how nominal it had become, one could only guess, since dead men tell no tales. Brynn Hartman, who likely had shot her husband in a drug-fueled state, turned out to be Hartman’s third wife. Author Thomas in “You Might Remember Me” reveals that Hartman’s first wife had two abortions while married to Phil. Hartman’s family insisted on a Catholic funeral for their son and brother. They got one, at a chapel in the cemetery where Phil and Brynn were interred.