Friday 27 April 2018

Voice of 'Simpsons' Harry Shearer to quit

Mr Burns in The Simpsons
Mr Burns in The Simpsons
The Simpsons
The Simpsons

Michael Hogan in New York

D'oh! That will be the noise made by millions of 'Simpsons' fans today on hearing that Harry Shearer, one of its main voice actors, is quitting the show. This news is not, as his character Mr Burns would put it, "eeeexcellent".

Shearer tweeted to indicate that he wouldn't be returning in forthcoming series of the long-running cartoon. The actor quoted 'Simpsons' producer James L Brooks' lawyer as saying "the show will go on but Harry will not be part of it".

The 71-year-old polymath suggested that a desire to work on other projects was the reason for his decision, yet 'Simpsons' cast members have always appeared in other projects. Perhaps he's simply had enough: Shearer's spent 26 years on the Springfield-set show, having been on-board since its 1989 launch. Or maybe he's disillusioned with its quality, having been outspoken about what he perceives as the show's decline from its '90s heyday.

Shearer's also a busy man, with a thriving, multi-dimensional career outside the show. He's moustachioed bassist Derek Smalls in spoof rock band Spinal Tap, hosts successful syndicated radio programme 'Le Show', is the author of three books and has directed two films, and acted in many more.

The big question, though, is how could 'The Simpsons' go on without him? Shearer voices a crowd of the show's beloved B-list characters, who provide plentiful plots and much mirth, including okely-dokely neighbour Ned Flanders, villainous billionaire Monty Burns, his assistant-cum-unrequited lover Smithers, and Principal Seymour Skinner.

The show could replace Shearer for its 27th season with a sound-a-like. However, no other member of the central voice cast has ever been replaced.

Irish Independent

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