Harry Shearer

Harry Shearer


12/23/1943, Los Angeles, California, USA

Birth Name

Harry Julius Shearer



Also Known As

Harry J. Shearer, Harry 'O.J.' Shearer, Derek Smalls
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"Hollywood Lifer" does not even begin to describe Harry Shearer. True, the actor/writer/musician has been around for as long as many remember, but he is no hack. Harry Shearer got his big break in the pilot of the 1957-63 sitcom Leave It To Beaver, in which he played…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • In 2014, Harry won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance playing Kent Brockman, Mr. Burns, Younger Burns and Smithers on The Simpsons: Four Regrettings and a Funeral.

    • Harry's former piano teacher decided to turn into an agent for children. From there, she got Harry some work on The Jack Benny Program when he was only 7 years old.

    • Harry's parents prevented him from having a permanent role on the original Leave It To Beaver TV series.

    • In his debut season of Saturday Night Live, Harry was the first person to start off as a featured player, and then become a full cast member by the end of it.

    • Harry has acknowledged the hardest voice to do on The Simpsons is the voice of Mr. Burns.

    • On an episode of The Dave Thomas Comedy Show, Dan Acyroyd mentions that Harry gave him the key to impersonating Tom Snyder, a person Dan is famous for impersonating. He told him you wet and stick out your lower lip.

    • He regularly impersonated the following while his run on Saturday Night Live: Alan Thicke, Carl Sagan, Curt Gowdy, Frank Reynolds, Franklin Roosevelt, Jack Perkins, Joe Garagiola, Mike Wallace, Richard Blackwell, Robin Leach, Rod Serling, Ronald Reagan, Tom Brokaw, Tom Snyder and Vin Scully.

    • He and his fellow members of This is Spinal Tap reprised their roles on an episode of The Simpsons called "The Otto Show." The premise of the episode was Spinal Tap was coming to Springfield.

    • Shearer has three books published, "Man Bites Town", "It's the Stupidity, Stupid", and "Not Enough Indians".

    • Since 1993, Shearer has been married to singer-songwriter Judith Owen.

    • He is the voice of the announcer for between-show trivia tidbits and network commercials on TV Land.

    • Harry Shearer stand 5' 7" (1.70 m).

    • At 21 characters, he has the widest range of roles on The Simpsons including the maniacal Mr. Burns, local celebrity newsanchor Kent Brockman, and the Springfield God Squad Reverend Lovejoy and Ned Flanders

    • His middle name is Julius, which is also the first name of Dr Hibbert, a character for which he does the voice on "The Simpsons".

    • Although he was the second actor to voice Mr. Burns, he was the first to utter the line "Smithers...release the hounds."

    • His film debut was with Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in Abbott and Costello Go to Mars (1953).

    • Shearer has directed a film, Teddy Bears Picnic (2002), in which he stars.

    • Shearer appeared in the American remake of Godzilla with Simpsons cast-mate Hank Azaria. Nancy Cartwright, another successful Simpsons voice artist, had a minor cameo in the same movie.

    • Harry was one of three Simpson voice actors to have guest starred on the hit NBC comedy Friends.

    • Shearer was briefly part of The Credibility Gap, a renowned comedy radio group situated in LA.

    • He played Frankie in the pilot episode of Leave it to Beaver.

    • His foray into show business was starring in 50's movies and television.

    • Of the six main Simpsons stars he was the only one to never win or be nominated for an Emmy however this changed in 2009 where he received his first Emmy nomination for his vocal performance in "The Burns and the Bees".

  • Quotes

    • Harry: (when asked how many characters he voices on The Simpsons) I make up a new number every time I'm asked.

    • David Letterman: (about Harry Shearer) Here's a guy that can do everything.

    • Harry: (about Jack Benny) Wonderful Man! So sweet.

    • Paul Shaffer: (on Harry Shearer) World's funniest man.

    • Harry: (when asked how many characters he voices on The Simpsons) I think I do about 12 regular characters but I've been able to pad the resume with God, The Devil and Hitler.

    • Harry: If absolute power corrupts absolutely, does absolute powerlessness make you pure?

    • Harry: (his thoughts on The Simpsons and it's decline) I rate the last three seasons (as of 2004) as among the worst, so Season 4 looks very good to me now.

    • Harry: (when asked if he has any input behind the scenes on The Simpsons) Not since my last contract negotiation, They just get my voice.

    • Harry: (about not being able to see the monster when filming Godzilla) Fortunately, I never had to do a lot of "AUGH!" reactions at anything, I almost never see the monster. The other actors would trick themselves or imagine what it was they were seeing.

    • Harry: (about his time on Saturday Night Live and if it was good) No. Anyone who said they did is lying, no one had a good time, it's miserable. First of all, nobody in showbiz has a right to complain because we're doing a job that isn't a real job, so getting that out of the way - it's just the attitude that actors are cattle, we'll get the most control out of them if we keep them worried. I mean look at Norm McDonald.

    • Harry: (about Phil Hartman's characters on The Simpsons and if they'll be revived) Yeah. I don't think they're going to exist anymore, I don't think anyone would want to do them. It's very sad.

    • Harry: (when asked what his best work is) It's hard not to mention Spinal Tap, the idea that that thing is still alive and when a bad band comes to town - we're the measurement of how low the bar is set...I'm happy about that.

    • Harry: (after asked to choose between on-camera work or voicework) Voice stuff is easier, because you don't have to wait for cameras to be in the right place, or to put on makeup. But it's more satisfying to do something more complete, in front of the camera.

    • Harry: (after asked what inspired his voicework) I don't know if it was that something inspired me, it's just something that sort of happened. I would listen to the radio and shut if off before going to sleep at night, I'd do voices in the dark, when I was a little kid.

    • Harry: (when being asked what his favourite Simpsons voice is) I enjoy doing all the voices on the Simpsons, but the one I get the most response from is Mr. Burns. We've all have worked for bad bosses, some of us still do!