It's been nearly 17 years since Saturday Night Live player Phil Hartman's tragic death, but last Sunday, the comedy legend's daughter, Birgen, joined an army of A-listers to celebrate the show's milestone anniversary and honor her dad.
Accompanying the 23-year-old for the special evening was her fiancé, and they certainly made the most of the night out.
"#SNL40 was unreal.... A huge thank you to everyone who made the night so special for us!" she gushed next to an Instagram shot of herself alongside her future husband.
Though the engaged beauty has kept a rather low profile compared to her famous father, it does appear that she inherited some of his innate humor. The night before the big event, Birgen shared a gorgeous preview of the dress she planned to wear. "Ready to blind America with my paleness tomorrow night #SNL40," she jokingly captioned the snap.
Phil Hartman died when his wife, Birgen and her brother Sean's mother Brynn Omdahl, shot and killed him on May 28, 1998. Brynn, whose drug problems were well documented, turned the gun on herself just hours later. Birgen and Sean were raised by Brynn's sister Katharine and brother-in-law Mike Wright.
Despite suffering such a devastating loss at such an early age, Birgen is a survivor and it shows in her work ethic. She recently completed a degree in Communications and Journalism at the University of St. Thomas and she already has many years of gainful employment under belt — and we're not talking about glamorous, exciting jobs. We're talking about the... err... "character-building" kind that are an unofficial rite of passage into adulthood for most of us. Highlights from her résumé include being a barista at a local coffee shop, a sales associate at an athletic shoe store, and a data entry temp for TCF Bank. That's pretty impressive for anyone her age, but when you consider the fact that her father left her a trust fund whose only requirement was that she graduate college, it's even more so.
In addition to paid work, Birgen has also dedicated much of her time to volunteering. A passionate animal activist, she served as a staff volunteer for Caring for Cats and her Instagram feed is filled with posts about her love of the furry four-legged friends.
Phil was perhaps best known for his impersonations of iconic figures like Bill Clinton and Frank Sinatra, but his legacy includes much more than that. During his eight-year run on the late-night sketch-fest, Phil was largely credited with being "The Glue" that held the cast together — so much so, that when he exited the show, his colleagues presented him with a pedestal that had a bottle of wood glue stuck to it.
As part of the anniversary broadcast, SNL aired clips from his audition videos, which proved to be among the most touching moments of the show. As much as everyone enjoyed seeing that vintage footage, however, we're sure no one enjoyed it more than Birgen.