On the new season of Murphy Brown, Phil’s Bar is now owned by the character’s sister, Phyllis (portrayed by Tyne Daly.) But what happened to Phil? Sadly, Phil died on the show…temporarily. But the actor who portrayed him, Pat Corley, died a few years after the series ended.
In Season 9, the character Phil passed away on the show. The FYI team bought the bar after he died on Season 9 Episode 6, titled “Phil’s Dead – Long Live Phil’s.” On the show, he died of a heart attack.
It wasn’t clear why Pat Corley left the show in 1998. AP reported that he was leaving to pursue other opportunities and wouldn’t be returning for Season 9. After leaving Murphy Brown, he played the role of Sheriff Tillman on Walking Across Egypt in 1999, and he was Mr. Camacho on the TV show Hey Arnold! in 2001. In 2003, he starred as Roy on Purgatory Flats and played Papa on Come Early Morning in 2006.
However, he wasn’t gone from the show forever. He did make one final appearance on “Never Can Say Goodbye: Part 1” — this was the first in the show’s two-part series finale (until Season 11 premiered.) Murphy goes to the bar after getting bad news about her mammogram, and wishes she had Phil to talk to. Suddenly, as if by magic, Phil appears! It turns out that he faked his own death because he knew too much about Whitewater. He had to go into hiding. But he still knew too much and had to go into hiding again, almost immediately.
It’s not clear how the show is going to handle this reversal in Season 11. The actor who portrayed Phil passed away, and it looks like the bar has been passed down to Phil’s sister, Phyllis. But how the show is getting around that versus FYI owning the bar for a time hasn’t been revealed before the Season 11 premiere.
Sadly, Pat Corley, the actor who portrayed Phil, passed away in 2006. He was 76. He died of congestive heart failure. He passed away at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was survived by two daughters, Troy and Christina, and two sons, Kevin and Jerry. His wife died a year earlier, and a daughter Michelle died 10 years before him.