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Harry Shearer Leaving ‘The Simpsons’ After 26 Years

Emmy-winning comedian and actor Harry Shearer leaves the voice cast of Fox’s long-running animated series, ‘The Simpsons,’ in an apparent contract dispute.

Boo-urns. Wednesday night, Harry Shearer, the Emmy-winning voice of Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders, Principal Skinner, Smithers, Dr. Hibbert, Kang, Kent Brockman, Lenny and many more on The Simpsons, announced that he has left the show.

The news comes on heels of Fox’s announcement that the network had picked up The Simpsons for two more years -- the show’s 27th and 28th seasons, which would bring it to more than 600 episodes.

Shearer cryptically made his announcement on Twitter in a series of tweets that suggested his departure is due to contract issues, ending, “Thanks, Simpsons fans, for your support.”

Simpsons showrunner Al Jean said in an email to The New York Times, “Harry Shearer was offered the same deal the rest of the cast accepted, and passed. The show will go on and we wish him well. Maggie took it hard.”

Executive producer James L. Brooks apparently took it even harder, tweeting “Hey, we tried. We’re still trying. Harry, no kidding, let’s talk.”

Jean said The Simpsons would continue to use characters that Shearer played. “We do not plan to kill off characters like Burns and Flanders but will recast with the finest voiceover talent available.”

The comedian and actor has been a part of the Simpsons cast since it made its debut in 1989, in addition to appearing on Saturday Night Live and in films including This Is Spinal Tap. He is the host of the radio program “Le Show,” which offers his weekly perspectives on politics and current events, and starred in the series Nixon’s the One, in which he played President Richard M. Nixon in a recreation of his secret Oval Office tapes.

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Formerly Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network, Jennifer Wolfe has worked in the Media & Entertainment industry as a writer and PR professional since 2003.