Harry Shearer has had a long, long career as a performer, starting out as a child actor, cast member on Saturday Night Live, band mate in Spinal Tap, Handsome Dan from Wayne's World 2 (one of my favorites) until finally landing the sweetest gig of all; one of the lead voice actors on The Simpsons. But now Shearer has walked away from the longest running American sitcom, turning down a $14 million dollar contract with Shearer taking to twitter to explain to his fans that it wasn't about the money. The decision came from Shearer wanting to be able to do other work after being attached to the same show for 26 years.
Some of the classic characters Shearer voiced throughout his stay with The Simpsons are Ned Flanders, Mr. Burns, Otto, Lenny, Marvin Monroe, Dr. Hibbert, Kent Brockman and Scratchy to just name a few.
One of the more interesting notes about Shearer's career is how he's notorious for being difficult to work with. If you ever hear him speak about his days on SNL, they're usually riddled with annoyance and anger to some degree, not to mention the other collaborations he's had throughout his career, often leading to a falling out. So it's almost not that surprising that the first MAIN voice from SNL to leave would be Shearer's, because I could see either the production was over Shearer or Shearer was just over the production. This topic came up during Marc Maron's podcast interview which is extremely fascinating to listen to. The whole interview is great, but it's at 56:16 where you can hear them get into Shearer's bouts with collaborators.
Regardless, The Simpsons will have one helluva casting period trying to find someone to fill all of those roles. And if they give up, and leave those characters by the wayside, well then that's practically criminal.
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