During his eight years as a cast member of Saturday Night Live, Phil Hartman was referred to as "The Glue" for his uncanny ability to hold sketches together. One of the most versatile performers in the show’s history, Hartman played outrageous characters like the Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer, he did impressions like Bill Clinton and Frank Sinatra, and, when it was required of him, he was a steadfast straight man and let other cast members shine. Similarly, Hartman supplied the voices for a wide variety of characters on The Simpsons, even if he's generally only remembered for two of them.

Over nine seasons of The Simpsons, Phil Hartman appeared in 52 episodes as 18 different characters. Of course, everyone remembers Troy McClure, the washed up actor who always introduced himself by saying something like “You probably remember me from such films as The Revenge of Abe Lincoln and The Wackiest Covered Wagon in the West.” Then there’s the sleazy lawyer, Lionel Hutz, who defended the Simpsons in a variety of lawsuits despite his questionable credentials. But Hartman also played God, Moses, Plato, a monorail salesman, Nelson’s father and even reprised a couple of the impressions he did on Saturday Night Live

Of course, Hartman’s work on The Simpsons came to an abrupt end with his murder in 1998. Following the tragedy, The Simpsons creator Matt Groening paid tribute to Hartman in the back of a Simpsons comic book. Praising Hartman’s kindness and talent, Groening explained that Hartman “could get a laugh out of any line he was given, and make a funny line even funnier.” 

Bongo Comics

In an attempt to pay tribute to all of Hartman’s work on The Simpsons, we at Cracked — with a lot of help from the Simpsons Wiki — have put together a guide to every one of Hartman's characters on The Simpsons in the order of their appearance. To paraphrase Troy McClure, you may not remember all of them, but each was imbued with Hartman’s iconic voice and inimitable talent.

God

Gracie Films

Profession: Creator of the universe

Number of Appearances by Hartman: 1

Episode: “Bart Gets Hit by a Car” (Season Two)

Hartman’s first voice on the show was actually that of God, or at least some sort of heavenly figure. In the beginning of the Season Two episode “Bart Get Hit By a Car,” Bart, well, gets hit by a car. Bart’s spirit then begins an escalator ride up to heaven where a voice tells him to hold onto the handrail and not to spit over the side of the escalator. Bart, of course, spits over the side and is swiftly delivered to Hell before waking up in the hospital to meet one of Hartman’s two most iconic Simpsons characters.

Lionel Hutz

Gracie Films

Profession: Lawyer

Number of Appearances by Hartman: 39

First Episode: "Bart Gets Hit by a Car" (Season Two)

Final Episode: “Realty Bites” (Season Nine)

Nearly two decades before Saul Goodman would grace TV screens, a huckster lawyer by the name of Lionel Hutz defended the Simpson family in the Season Two episode “Bart Gets Hit By a Car,” where Bart is struck by Mr. Burns’ town car. As soon as Bart awakens in the hospital, Hutz is there to hand Homer a business card (which doubles as a sponge when it's put in water). Hutz then encourages Homer to sue his boss for every penny he’s got. The episode was the perfect showcase for the character as Hutz advises the Simpsons throughout the case and quickly establishes himself as one of the funniest characters in Springfield. While Hutz was intended as a one-off, the character was so funny — and, according to Groening, Hartman was such a pleasure to work with — that Hutz, and Hartman, were brought back again and again. 

Over the next eight seasons, Hutz came back for quick little jokes — like when he was the executor of Marge’s aunt’s will — as well as starring vehicles, like when Homer hires him as a babysitter. For his final appearance, Hutz was actually trying out a new profession as a real estate agent who was training Marge in the Season Nine episode “Realty Bites.” The episode aired about six months before Hartman’s death and, while Hutz would occasionally appear in nonspeaking cameos later on, he was officially retired following Hartman’s murder.

Moses

Gracie Films

Profession: Shepherd

Number of Appearances by Hartman: 1

Episode: "Homer vs. Lisa and the 8th Commandment" (Season Two)

Phil Hartman was so beloved by the Simpsons writers that his next appearance was just three episodes after his first. In the episode “Homer vs. Lisa and the 8th Commandment," Hartman appears as three characters, the first of which was Moses presenting the Ten Commandments. 

The Cable Guy

Gracie Films

Profession: Cable repairman

Number of Appearances by Hartman: 1

Episode: "Homer vs. Lisa and the 8th Commandment" (Season Two)

Hartman’s biggest role in "Homer vs. Lisa and the 8th Commandment" was that of a familiar 1990s sitcom trope, the crooked cable guy who offers free cable for a nominal fee. Honestly, the role was a little beneath Hartman’s talents, but had he not been asked back for this character, it’s possible that Hartman wouldn’t have been in the studio to record a quick gag as Troy McClure, who would become Hartman’s biggest, and most beloved, character on the show.

Troy McClure

Gracie Films

Profession: Actor

Number of Appearances by Hartman: 41

First Episode (by Hartman): "Homer vs. Lisa and the 8th Commandment" (Season Two)

Final Episode: “Bart, the Mother” (Season Ten)

Whereas Lionel Hutz debuted with a splashy starring vehicle, Troy McClure’s first appearance was less than a minute long. It was a TV gag where he was on an infomercial selling candy that “both cleans and straightens your teeth.” It was a quick joke, but McClure’s catchphrase was already in place as he introduced himself by saying, “Hello, I’m Troy McClure. You may remember me from such films as Cry Yuma and Here Comes the Coast Guard.”

McClure appeared in dozens of episodes, primarily in quick, punchy parts, though he really shined in the Season Seven episode “A Fish Called Selma,” where he married Marge’s sister (who also married Lionel Hutz at one point). The episode not only dove deeper into McClure’s character than ever before, but it also featured a scene that Groening said “made me laugh till I cried the first time I saw it” — it was when McClure starred in a musical of The Planet of the Apes.

The Simpsons fans and writers weren’t the only ones who loved Troy McClure as Phil Hartman said on more than one occasion that it was his favorite character he ever played. According to Vulture, he improvised as the character on the set of his sitcom NewsRadio and there was even talk of Hartman playing a live action version in a film about Troy McClure. Unfortunately, that never happened, as McClure’s, and Hartman’s, final appearance on The Simpsons was in a quick nature video in the Season 10 episode “Bart, the Mother,” which aired four months after Hartman’s death. Like Hutz, the character would appear in non-speaking cameos later on, but he was officially retired after the tragedy.

Plato (or a guy dressed as Plato)

Gracie Films

Profession: Owner of Plato's Republic Casino

Number of Appearances by Hartman: 1

Episode: "Old Money" (Season Two)

Lionel Hutz’s second appearance came later in Season Two, when he was the executor of the will of one of Grandpa Simpson’s old girlfriends. During the episode, Hartman also supplied the voice for a casino owner dressed as Plato.

Joey

Gracie Films

Profession: Mobster

Number of Appearances by Hartman: 1

Episode: "Bart the Murderer" (Season Three)

In the Season Three episode "Bart the Murderer,” Hartman pulled quadruple duty as Hutz, McClure and two mobster characters, the first of which was a goon named Joey.

The Godfather

Gracie Films

Profession: Head of the mafia in Springfield

Number of Appearances by Hartman: 1

Episode: "Bart the Murderer" (Season Three)

The other mobster played by Hartman in "Bart the Murderer" was The Godfather, who outranks Fat Tony in the Springfield mafia. Hartman only played the character once, as future appearances were by cast member Hank Azaria.

Homer’s Stockbroker

Gracie Films

Profession: Stockbroker 

Number of Appearances by Hartman: 1

Episode: "Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk" (Season Three)

When Mr. Burns sold the nuclear power plant in Season Three, the plant's stock price went up for the first time in years. At the beginning of the episode, the surly, unwell stockbroker called Homer to let him know his shares went up in value and Homer quickly cashed in for $25. 

Horst

Gracie Films

Profession: A German businessman

Number of Appearances by Hartman: 1

Episode: "Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk" (Season Three)

Phil Hartman played a lot of characters who appeared  — or, at least spoke — in just one episode and Horst, the German businessman, was one of those. Horst was one of the men who bought the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant from Mr. Burns. He was a friendly guy, but is probably best remembered for snapping at Homer after Homer daydreamed for ten minutes about chocolate.

Smooth Jimmy Apollo

Gracie Films

Profession: Football commentator

Number of Appearances by Hartman: 1

Episode: “Lisa the Greek” (Season Three)

Troy McClure appeared in the Season Three episode “Lisa the Greek” and, while he was in the studio, Hartman also supplied the voice for sports commentator Smooth Jimmy Apollo, who sounded just like Hartman’s Frank Sinatra impression from Saturday Night Live

Lyle Lanley

Gracie Films

Profession: Con artist

Number of Appearances by Hartman: 2

First Episode: "Marge vs. the Monorail" (Season Four)

Final Episode: “All Singing, All Dancing” (Season Nine)

Besides Troy McClure and Lionel Hutz, Hartman’s most memorable character on The Simpsons was Lyle Lanley, the con artist who came to Springfield to sell the town a monorail. “Marge vs. the Monorail” is widely considered to be one of the best episodes of the entire series and Hartman’s performance — which was based on Harold Hill from The Music Man — was undoubtedly a huge reason for that. The joyous flim-flam man arrived in town with a snappy, old-timey manner of speech and a hopelessly catchy song. The song was so good that it would later be re-used in the Season Nine clip show, “All Singing, All Dancing.”

Eddie Muntz

Gracie Films

Profession: Soccer coach

Number of Appearances by Hartman: 1

Episode: "Brother from the Same Planet" (Season Four)

Nelson’s dad is a character that has been passed around between a few different actors, though during his first appearance, he was a kids soccer coach played by Phil Hartman.

Tom

Gracie Films

Profession: Big brother

Number of Appearances by Hartman: 1

Episode: "Brother from the Same Planet" (Season Four)

When Bart calls the Big Brother program to spite Homer, his new Big Brother turned out to be a leather-jacket wearing guy named Tom, who rides a motorcycle and speaks with Hartman’s “cool guy” voice.

Evan Conover

Gracie Films

Profession: Undersecretary for International Protocol: Brat and Punk Division

Number of Appearances by Hartman: 1

Episode: "Bart vs. Australia" (Season Six)

More of a straight man than most of Hartman’s other roles on The Simpsons, Evan Conover was a government bureaucrat who helped the Simpson family navigate an international incident that Bart caused with Australia.

Charlton Heston

Gracie Films

Profession: Actor

Number of Appearances by Hartman: 1

Episode: “A Star is Burns” (Season Six)

Likely taped during the recording session for another episode, Hartman had a tiny part in the episode “A Star is Burns” as Charlton Heston, an impression he also did on Saturday Night Live

Fat Tony

Gracie Films

Profession: Mob boss

Number of Appearances by Hartman: 1

Episode: "A Fish Called Selma" (Season Seven)

Fat Tony is usually played by Joe Mantegna, but during the Troy McClure-starring episode "A Fish Called Selma,” Fat Tony had such a small part that the Simpsons writers didn’t think Mantegna would want to come in for it, so they had Hartman do an impression of Mantegna's Fat Tony instead.

Bill Clinton

Gracie Films

Profession: President of the United States

Number of Appearances by Hartman: 1

Episode: “Treehouse of Horror VII” (Season Eight)

Former president Bill Clinton has appeared on The Simpsons numerous times and usually his voice is supplied by Dan Castellaneta, but in the Season Eight Halloween episode, Phil Hartman played him. While Hartman appeared as both Hutz and McClure after this episode, Hartman’s last “new” character was one that he was actually pretty famous for playing, as he portrayed Bill Clinton on Saturday Night Live for years.

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