All the Simpsons voice actors that have been replaced over the years
| Last updated
Featured Image Credit: Fox
With 750 episodes, 34 seasons and more than three decades on the air, it’s safe to say The Simpsons has stood the test of time.
The same can be said for many of its voice actors. While franchises like Harry Potter have placed dozens of actors over the years, Matt Groening’s long-running cartoon still has numerous mainstays who have voiced the show’s most beloved characters for years.
Yeardley Smith, for example, has been behind Lisa Simpson since day dot, while Dan Castellaneta has brought us a whole range of fan faves including Homer Simpson, Groundskeeper Willie and Sideshow Mel.
That being said, there have been a number of notable changes to the cast of late, especially since Fox’s animated series made the decision to stop white actors voicing characters from other ethnic backgrounds amid backlash to the lack of diversity.
A spokesperson for the show said back in 2020: “Moving forward, The Simpsons will no longer have white actors voice non-white characters.”
There have obviously been other factors too, including some actors who have passed away.
So, without further ado, here are The Simpsons voice actors who have been replaced over the years…
White voice actor Harry Shearer, who provided the voice of Dr Julius Hibbert and a number of other characters on The Simpsons for the past 30 years, handed over the reigns of the iconic animated doctor to a black performer.
Voice acting veteran Kevin Michael Richardson took over the role in 2021.
Shearer continues to provide the voices for his other longtime characters, including Ned Flanders, Principal Skinner and Mr Burns. Speaking of which…
Shearer took over the evil Springfield Nuclear Power Plant owner after the first season of the show, replacing the late voice actor Christopher Collins.
Although Collins passed away in 1994, he was removed from the show in 1990.
If you’re wondering why, well, this brings us onto the next character…
At the same time, Hank Azaria – who now also voices Chief Wiggum and Comic Book Guy, among others – replaced Collins as Moe the Bartender.
In a 2018 with GQ, Azaria commented on the situation, claiming that he didn’t find out that he’d replaced another actor until years after the fact.
When asked why, he claimed he was told by Groening: “He (Collins) was great... He was just a d***. His voice was great, he was just kind of jerky to everyone."
Conversations about the Kwik-E-Mart owner were sparked following comedian Hari Kondabolu’s 2017 documentary, The Problem With Apu.
The doc addressed various issues with the way the character is written, including the fact that – up until 2020 – he was voiced by the aforementioned Azaria, a white actor.
Azaria revealed he would be stepping back from voicing Apu going forward, explaining that, “It just didn’t feel right.”
No announcements for his replacement have been made as of yet, although the team previously suggested they have ‘big plans’ for the character’s future.
Much like her doctor husband, Bernice Hibbert’s original white voice actor was removed from the role.
Tress MacNeille, who portrays a number of other Springfield residents including Crazy Cat Lady and Lunchlady Doris, was succeeded by actor Dawnn Lewis in 2021.
While we’re on the topic of the ever-smoking Springfield Elementary School dinner lady, MacNeille took on the role after the passing of actor Doris Grau in 1995.
Following Grau's death, Lunchlady Doris was temporarily retired as a speaking character, but returned to the series with MacNeille at the helm in 2006.
Amid The Simpsons’ push for diversity, the show also recast the role of Carl Carlson with actor Alex Désert taking over from Azaria in 2020.
Désert appeared to confirm the news at the time with a post on his Instagram page featuring a screenshot of a report about the role.
He wrote: "This has been a rough week. No - year. And then...Yup. This is happening. The resemblance is uncanny! See y'all Sunday!"
The Comic Book Guy’s wife, who is a Japanese manga fan and artist, was previously portrayed by MacNeille when she was first introduced to the franchise in 2014.
In 2021, Jenny Yokobori, an American voice actress of Japanese descent, took over the role.
The series sought the same level of diversity for its LGBTQ+ characters, including Julio Franco.
Previously voiced by Azaria, the show chose to replace the character – who is both a love interest for Waylon Smithers and hairdresser for Marge Simpson – with a gay actor.
In 2021, it was announced that Julio would be voiced by actor Tony Rodriguez, who is also Cuban as per the character.
Yet another character previously voiced by Azaria was Pedro Chespirito, aka Bumblebee Man.
The Springfield mainstay was similarly replaced in 2021, with Cuban actor Eric Lopez taking over.
Speaking to Mitú about the role at the time, he said: “[Bumblebee Man] is a caricature of the stuff that’s on TV, which is very big and outrageous and goofy. So I was a bit confused. Because you never know if someone is laughing with you or laughing at you.
“But I wasn’t really mad at it so much. Because that’s how cartoons and animation are. You take someone and you make them a big character. And that’s what makes that character loveable.”
Next up is Lisa’s IQ rival Martin Prince, who was originally voiced by Russi Taylor.
The voice actor sadly passed away in 2019 and, following a grieving period, Grey DeLisle was brought in as the new Prince. Which brings us to the final characters we’re here to talk about today…
Sherri and Terri
DeLisle also took on the evil twins after Taylor’s passing.
The Simpsons writer and producer Al Jean took to Twitter in November 2019 to write: “New episode tonight! Please welcome @GreyDeLisle as the new voice of Sherri, Terri and Martin Prince.”
Topics: Film & TV, The Simpsons, Film and TV