A Phil Hartman Tribute:
The news of Phil Hartman's murder was a shock to me. I felt as though the world had lost a rising star much too soon. After all, Phil Hartman was coming into his own, receiving the praise and recognition he always deserved.
Admittedly, I had not kept up with his career after he left Saturday Night Live. But he was my favorite cast member on SNL and I followed the show faithfully. While I was in high school, Phil impressed me with his roles of Frankenstein and the Anal-Retentive Chef. I even dressed as the Anal-Retentive Chef for Halloween.
I decided to write a fan letter to Phil to see if I could get a handwritten response. My letter was creative, fake-tragic, and one big lie, as I revealed at the end of it. Phil loved it and replied with an autographed picture and a lengthy handwritten letter, including the following P.S.:
"Christine, you cracked me up! I am going to read your letter and my response on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on December 26th. Thanks for writing half my appearance, Christine. Sincere Regards, Phil"
Phil kept his word, and on December 26, 1989 he read my letter on national television and included my name.
A few years later, while in college, a friend of mine wanted to try the same type of thing with him. Instead of asking for a handwritten response, she dared him to call her. He did, and luckily I was around to talk to him. When I told him that I was curious if he remembered who I was, he replied by saying that he had not forgotten, and could not forget, because my letter was the craziest he'd ever received. He also sent my friend an autographed picture on which he wrote, "You're friends with Chrissy Horace, how lucky can you get!"
In my eyes, Phil went beyond his role as a character actor, involving himself with his fans, if just for a brief moment in time. He provided me with one of my great life memories. Phil Hartman was a unique actor, the likes of which will never grace us again.
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