The Simpsons’ Mr Burns, Ned Flanders and Lenny Just Lost Their Voices as Harry Shearer Leaves


Comedian Harry Shearer, the man behind the voices of Mr Burns and Ned Flanders on The Simpsons, is to leave the veteran cartoon. It’s a diddly doo darn disaster for the long running show.

According to TMZ, attempts to renew The Simpsons for its 27th and 28th series were being held up by the Spinal Tap star, who (while reportedly comfortable with his base salary) was not happy with “issues with back-end and merchandising” rights.

It would seem then that it’s all about those Benjamins, (recent seasons saw Shearer’s fee drop from $400,000 an episode to just over $300,000) but a few tweets from Shearer last night, seemingly confirming the news, point towards a different reason for his departure. If the tweets are to be believed, it seems that Shearer was feeling creatively stifled by the long-term commitment he’s continually had to make to the show:

from James L. Brooks’ lawyer: “show will go on, Harry will not be part of it, wish him the best.”. (1/2)

— Harry Shearer (@theharryshearer) May 14, 2015


This because I wanted what we’ve always had: the freedom to do other work. Of course, I wish him the very best. (2/2)

— Harry Shearer (@theharryshearer) May 14, 2015


James L Brooks, in case you were wondering, is the show’s producer.

Shearer, though having been openly critical of the direction some episodes and seasons have taken the show, is pretty much the heart and soul of The Simpsons. He’s played dozens of regular characters and voiced many more characters who have appeared for just one episode. For those that believe The Simpsons is beyond its prime, this news will certainly add fuel to the fire. But with seasons 27 and 28 having been confirmed earlier this month, it won’t be going away anytime soon. How the show will fill this gaping hole in its cast though will be another matter entirely — Shearer’s characters are key secondary players in Springfield. He will be missed. [Twitter]


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