The names of six new inductees to Canada's Walk Of Fame were announced today, and the list includes a comedy icon, two of Canada's best-known musicians (and friends of the show), a CFL icon, a well-known ballet dancer, and the hockey team that led our country to victory against Team USSR in 1972.
Phil Hartman, Randy Bachman, Sarah McLachlan, Russ Jackson, Sonia Rodriguez and Team Canada 1972 were all inducted. Hartman's inclusion is especially noteworthy: Phil died tragically in 1998 at age 49, and his brother Paul Hartmann has spent the last three years working full-time on a campaign to get Phil's name on the Walk of Fame. He told the Toronto Star today that hearing the news "was just sheer total relief ... it's so great that he finally got that recognition".
Russ Jackson led the Ottawa Rough Riders to three Grey Cup wins in 1960, 1968, and 1969, and later coached the Toronto Argonauts, while Sonia Rodriquez played Juliet in the recent ballet performance of 'Romeo and Juliet' by Alexei Ratmansky and has taken on many other successful dance roles.
Sarah McLachlan in the Red Chair
Randy Bachman in the Red Chair With Fred Turner
Remembering Phil Hartman: The Man Of A Thousand Voices - May 28, 2012
It's been fourteen years since Phil Hartman of Saturday Night Live, NewsRadio and Simpsons fame died.
Born September 24, 1948 in Brantford, Ontario, Hartman was tragically killed at the age of 49 in a murder-suicide by his troubled wife. He started his career designing record album covers and also created the official logo for Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. After joining Los Angeles' improv group The Groundlings, he co-created manchild Pee-Wee Herman and appeared on Playhouse many times as Kap'n Karl. He spent eight years on SNL, and became known for his celebrity impersonations that ranged from Frank Sinatra to President Bill Clinton and set a record for most appearances - 153 - as one of the show's regular "not-ready-for-primetime" players.
After his departure from the show, he joined the sitcom NewsRadio and played the egotistical anchorman on an AM radio news station in New York City through four seasons. He also provided countless voice-overs, including Troy McClure and Lionel Hutz on The Simpsons.
His brother Paul has been lobbying for Phil since 2007 to get his star on Canada's Walk of Fame, with a Facebook page and endorsements from many including Jerry Seinfeld and Will Ferrell. Voting for the stars is open to the public online.
Back in 1997, a 19-year-old aspiring comedian named Mike Scott sent a letter to Phil, along with some of his comedy sketches on an audio tape. At the time, Phil was balancing Newsradio, The Simpsons, commercials and a few films - but he responded to Mike with a handwritten letter. Mike posted the full letter on his website and a transcription follows below.
Transcript of the letter:
Hi. Thanks for your letter, I listened to your tape, enough of it to hear that you have true natural talent. Your voice is pleasant to the ear. That, I think is your basic talent. Your humor is like a lot of comedy I hear today...angry, somewhat mean spirited.
Okay I guess if that's what makes your friends laugh. Sure. Go there. Maybe I'm old. I honestly recognize that a lot of humor (my humor, too) is hostile. But when it's too on the nail..."I can't stand Alannis, Nickelodeon, etc."...to me it lacks craft and subtlety.
Look at Letterman. His humor is hostile, but it holds back, to network standards, and yet still works beautifully. He doesn't go all the way. You seem to be going more toward a Howard Stern sensibility. And I prefer Letterman. So there you go.
"And that's OKAY," as Stuart Smalley says. I just have a sense that you could be more than a shock jock. It's just a hunch. As artists we all face the same challenge--what is funny about me? Or, more pertinently, who am i?
If you dislike Alannis, and say so bluntly, that's not funny. If you make a TOP TEN LIST OF OTHER THINGS ALANNIS FINDS "IRONIC," that can be funny, and still allow you to express your antipathy. Amateur comedy is too "on the nail." You need to develop craft. In school, in a radio gig, a theatre group, improv troupe, or standup showcase.
Don't be discouraged. You have talent. Personally, I like your own voice more than your impressions and character work. Just work, wherever you can. You'll grow and refine and be great. Be patient. (I didn't start acting till I was 27).
You've got a head start.
Go for it,