The Simpsons will go on without a key member of its voice cast.
Harry Shearer, the voice behind such characters as Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders, Waylon Smithers and Principal Skinner, tweeted on Wednesday that his contract will not be renewed.
“From [Simpsons executive producer] James L. Brooks‘ lawyer: ‘Show will go on, Harry will not be part of it, wish him the best,’ ” Shearer posted, adding in a second tweet: “This because I wanted what we’ve always had: the freedom to do other work. Of course, I wish him the very best.
Here’s what you need to know about Harry Shearer:
1.He’s Been With ‘The Simpsons’ From The Start
The actor has been with The Simpsons since its origins on The Tracey Ullman Show .
Born on December 23, 1943 in Los Angeles, he launched his TV career on Saturday Night Live. He earned $300,000 per episode on The Simpsons after agreeing with the rest of the cast on a 30% pay cut in 2011.
In all, he’s given voice to well over 100 citizens in Springfield.
2. He Was The Lone Holdout in Contract Negotiations
Shearer was the only one who refused to agree terms with Fox in the latest round of negotiations.
The rest of the talent has signed on for seasons 27 and 28 which are scheduled to go into production soon. Shearer is 71.
3. He Wanted ‘More Merchandising Rights’
TMZ claims the move may have something to do with merchandising payments, but one thing’s for sure: with his departure The Simpsons loses some of its biggest, best, and most memorable characters.
4. He Co-Wrote And Co-Starred in ‘The Spinal Tap’
Shearer co-created, co-wrote and co-starred in the 1984 film This is Spinal Tap, a satirical rockumentary about a band called Spinal Tap.
Shearer portrayed Derek Smalls, the bassist, and Michael McKean and Christopher Guest played the other two members. The film became a cult hit and the band has since released several albums and played several concerts.
5. He Thinks ‘The Simpsons’ is on The Decline
Shearer has been vocal about what he perceives as the show’s declining quality. In 2004, he said: “I rate the last three seasons as among the worst.”
Shearer directed the 2002 film Teddy Bears’ Picnic and appeared in several films, including A Mighty Wind, For Your Consideration, The Simpsons Movie, The Truman Show, and Godzilla among many others.
He is currently artist in residence at Loyola University in New Orleans.