If you've ever wondered why you don't see Troy McClure on The Simpsons any more, it's down to the fact that the voice actor Phil Hartman was murdered.
In 1998, Hartman was shot dead by his wife, Brynn Hartman, following a cocaine bender and ended one of the most successful careers in comedy all too soon. Hartman, who starred in The Simpsons, NewsRadio, Saturday Night Live, The Critic and The Larry Sanders Show, was a beloved comic and was sorely missed by the writing staff and fellow voice actors on The Simpsons.
Before his untimely death, Hartman was working on a possible live-action spinoff of his character, Troy McClure. It's said that Matt Groening, the creator behind The Simpsons, had talked to Hartman about developing the idea into a film, but nothing came of it due to the events of May 28th, 1998.
However, some of the writing staff came forward and discussed Hartman's plan for a Troy McClure movie, saying that they loved it and were eager to get started on it. Following Hartman's death, Troy McClure, Lionel Hutz and several of the characters that he gave voice to were retired out of respect for his legacy and the film was, naturally, scrapped.
It's always sad when you hear about the potential works of great actors and the like, but this one really got us. He really was gone way too soon.