Northeast Ohio’s TV-news viewers may remember Amy Hasten as the perky, pixie weather babe on WKYC-TV 3
throughout most of the ‘90s. But on Wednesday night, they saw a skeletal shell of the now-Amy Murphy melt down on the syndicated gossip-fest, Inside Edition
, where she talked about the March 11 suicide of her boyfriend, comedian Richard Jeni
, in their West Hollywood apartment. “Moments before he took his life, he was in a good mood, and we made plans for the day,” Murphy bawled. “We had some tender words, and he told me to go make breakfast.”
While she was frying eggs in the kitchen, Murphy heard a popping sound upstairs. She ran into a bedroom and found the 49-year-old Jeni – born Richard John Colangelo – in a pool of blood on the floor. He had put the barrel of a .38-caliber Colt Detective Special into his mouth and pulled the trigger just a week after he had been diagnosed with clinical depression and psychotic paranoia. Murphy called 9-1-1.
“He was not present the day he did that,” she says. “He never thought suicide was a solution to anything.”
Murphy became familiar with Jeni’s comedy schtick in 1992, when she saw him perform during a bad blind date at the Improv
in the Flats. After catching his routine several times over the next 12 years, Murphy finally met him in 2004, when she was working as forecaster and entertainment reporter Amy Brooke at a Phoenix TV station. Now, she says, his sense of humor lives on in the shows he recorded on DVD. “I can’t be angry with him because I know the pain he was in, and I know that wasn’t him,” Murphy says. “His family wanted me to make sure his fans know how much they’ve meant to him, and how much they mean to us now.” – Cris Glaser