Thanks, Simpsons fans, for your support.— Harry Shearer (@theharryshearer) May 14, 2015
The actor behind Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders and many more is leaving The Simpsons.
One of the things I've always loved most about The Simpsons was the incredible versatility of its voice cast. Actors like Dan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright and Hank Azaria have all employed their voices to give life to multiple and even dozens of the denizens of Springfield. Losing even a single one of these primary performers, in turn, is the sort of thing that could arguably spell doom for the long-running series. That being the case, it's been confirmed that the show, now preparing for its 27th and 28th seasons, will have to contend with exactly that.
As of this morning, it's been confirmed that Harry Shearer will be leaving The Simpsons. The news of actor's departure first surfaced yesterday after Shearer himself released Tweets indicating that Fox would not be renewing his contract with the show. Showrunner Al Jean, this morning, further confirmed through several statements that Shearer would be leaving and that the show would continue with new performers taking up the mantle of his many roles. "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," said Jean. "We do not plan to kill off characters like Burns and Flanders but will recast with the finest voiceover talent available." The deal Shearer passed up was apparently worth $14 million.
Shearer, born in 1943, has been with The Simpsons since it debuted all the way back in 1989. Over the course of the quarter century following he would become the voice behind more than twenty characters including beloved Springfieldians such as Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders, Otto, Reverand Lovejoy, Kent Brockman, Mr. Smithers, Principal Skinner, Kang, Rainier Wolfcastle and Lenny. In other words, he's leaving behind some enormous shoes to fill.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter