Harry Shearer is the last original Simpsons cast member to withdraw a role. The February 21 episode of the long-running Fox animated series featured the actor’s final vocal performance as Dr. Julius Hibbert, one of the most prominent black characters on the show. But the citizens of Springfield will still be able to visit the good doctor for his dubious medical advice and hearty lollipops. As originally reported by Vulture, Dr. Hibbert will be portrayed by veteran broadcaster Kevin Michael Richardson, beginning with the February 28 episode. Richardson has lent his voice to several supporting characters in The Simpsons since 2009, and his other credits include Teen Titans Go! Y Family man, as well as the next series Invincible Y Masters of the Universe: Revelation.
It’s the last casting change since The Simpsons Producers first announced over the summer that white actors would no longer voice the various characters of color that populate Springfield. Hank Azaria was the first to step aside, retiring the role of an Indian shop owner Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, followed by Homer’s black co-worker and friend Carl Carlson. (Carl is currently voiced by Alex Désert; Apu hasn’t been recast yet, but Simpsons creator Matt Groening has said the character will remain on the show.) Most recently, Jenny Yokobori replaced Tress MacNeille as Kumiko Albertson, the Japanese manga fan married to the ultracynical Comic Book Guy.
Speaking to Yahoo Entertainment last year, Azaria co-star Yeardley Smith discussed his decision to retire from the voice of Apu, a choice that preceded the producers’ decision to rephrase all of the show’s characters of color. “I know the decision has been taken very seriously, and I really wanted to end up on the right side of the discussion and do something that he personally could live with and be proud of,” he said. “We all love Apu, and we didn’t mean to hurt you, but that doesn’t mean you didn’t cause any damage.”
Shearer initially had a different view of The Simpsons casting reorganization. During an interview with Times Radio in the UK in August, the star of This is lumbar puncture He said: “I have a very simple belief about acting. The actor’s job is to play someone who is not. That is the job. That is the job description. I think there is a combination between the acting, which is important. The People of all backgrounds should be represented in the writing and production of the business purposes to help decide which stories to tell and with what knowledge. The job is to play someone I’m not. “
Shearer, who still voices popular characters like Kent Brockman, Ned Flanders and Mr. Burns, has yet to comment on the cast change, but many fans on Twitter applaud the news. On the other hand, some are still struggling to adjust to Springfield’s new and more diverse reality.
It matters. Representation matters. The change is late and welcome.
– Kelly Lee Williams – KELLYGRAMS (@KellyLWilliams) February 22, 2021
Does this mean that Bart now has to be voiced by a real child and not a grown woman?
– James (@JamesNC_) February 22, 2021
Kevin Michael Richardson is a great voice actor
– Maria Emma (@ mariaemma16) February 22, 2021
even the simpsons fell into political correctness the world is over
– Guillermo Paredes (@guillermoparede) February 22, 2021
That’s cool in my opinion, I just hope Richardson brings those iconic lines that Shearer bought onto paper. All the best Kevin, I’m excited.
– Connor #ZackSnydersJusticeLeague (@ connor4real1) February 22, 2021
Grow up angey people. Smh lol
Also Kevin Michael Richardson is a fantastic choice, one of my favorite voice actors.
– Austin Bitikofer (@BitikoferAustin) February 22, 2021
The Simpsons airs Sundays at 8 pm on Fox.
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