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7 Tearjerking TV Sitcom Tributes To Cast Members Who Died

6. NewsRadio (Phil Hartman - Bill McNeal)

NBC

Tackling the real-life death of a beloved cast member is especially hard when the show is known for its constant comedy. NewsRadio was not a series known for its heartfelt moments. It was comedy through and through.

So when Phil Hartman horrifically murdered by his wife, it was more than a little uneasy to consider how the sitcom might handle this touchy situation. Perhaps they'd have the cast break character completely to reminisce about their coworker during a clip-show retrospective? Or maybe this was a situation where it was perfectly reasonable to send his character, Bill McNeal, on an Arctic expedition for an undetermined amount of time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wPHqZLVeqk

In the end, NewsRadio opted to open Season 5 with a scene informing us that Bill died of a heart attack. The entirety of his onscreen coworkers return to work commenting on how beautiful the funeral service was, bringing along with it a brief moment of silence. Then Andy Dick's character wonders aloud whether the display of flowers next to the casket, in the shape of a broken heart, was meant to represent the manner of Bill's passing, prompting Stephen Root's character to respond thusly:

"No, that was me. I sat on it in the limo."

This was a dedication to Phil Hartman, after all, a man who was comedy through and through.

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Jacob is a part-time contributor for WhatCulture, specializing in music, movies, and really, really dumb humor. You can follow him on Twitter @JakeTrowbridge.