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Harry Shearer

Harry ShearerAKA Harrison Julius Shearer

Born: 23-Dec-1943
Birthplace: Los Angeles, CA

Gender: Male
Religion: Jewish
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Comic, Actor, Radio Personality

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Almost half the voices on The Simpsons

Harry Shearer started in show business with a recurring role on Jack Benny's radio program, where he worked alongside another legendary voice actor, Mel Blanc. When Benny brought his radio show to television 9-year-old Shearer played Benny as a child, arguing with his father about money. In his first movie roles, he had one line in Abbott and Costello Go to Mars, and a more substantial part in the CinemaScope Biblical epic The Robe with Richard Burton. At 13, Shearer played Wally's troublemaking friend in the pilot episode of Leave It To Beaver with Jerry Mathers, but when Beaver was sold as a series his character was re-cast with Ken Osmond and rewritten as the infamous Eddie Haskell.

After college, Shearer worked as a reporter and taught high school before earning his first success as a stand-up comic. He wrote for and took small roles in Laverne & Shirley and National Lampoon's Disco Beaver from Outer Space, co-wrote Albert Brooks's satire of reality television Real Life, and came to stardom as hairy faux rocker Derek Smalls in This is Spinal Tap with Christopher Guest and Michael McKean.

He briefly wrote for Saturday Night Live in 1979, quitting when his sketches were rarely seen on the show. He returned as a featured player in SNL's "all-star" cast of 1984-85 -- alongside Guest, Martin Short, and Billy Crystal, but Shearer quit again in frustration midway through the season. NBC's press release cited "creative differences", and Shearer quipped to a reporter, "Yeah, I was creative and they were different". He never mentions SNL on his résumé.

On The Simpsons, Shearer gives voice to about half the town of Springfield, including millionaire Montgomery Burns and his infatuated assistant Waylon Smithers, very Christian Ned Flanders, chuckling Dr Julius Hibbert, put-upon Principal Seymour Skinner, pious Rev Lovejoy, newscaster Kent Brockman, Homer's beer buddy Lenny Leonard, stoned bus driver Otto, town founder Jebediah Springfield, and musclebound action hero Rainier Wolfcastle, star of the McBain movies. Shearer also spoke for Carl Sagan in My Stepmother Is an Alien with Dan Aykroyd and Alyson Hannigan.

An occasional character actor in movies, he provided comic relief as a recruiter in the space saga The Right Stuff with Sam Shepard, played G. Gordon Liddy in Dick with Kirsten Dunst and Michelle Williams, a reporter in The Truman Show with Jim Carrey, and a struggling actor in For Your Consideration with Eugene Levy. He contributes left-leaning on-line essays for The Huffington Post, and authored the musical play J. Edgar!, about J. Edgar Hoover's long gay affair with henchman Clyde Tolson.

Back on the radio, he stars in his own weekly satirical Le Show, syndicated on non-commercial radio stations and available as a podcast. In his long career, Shearer says his favorite moment is still the first time he said something that made Jack Benny laugh.

Father: (d.)
Mother: Dora Warren (bookkeeper)
Wife: Penny Nichols (singer-songwriter, div. 1977)
Wife: Judith Owen (singer-songwriter, m. 28-Mar-1993)

    University: BS Political Science, University of California at Los Angeles
    University: MA Political Science, Harvard University

    Spinal Tap
    Austrian Ancestry Paternal
    Polish Ancestry Maternal
    Jewish Ancestry

    Jack & Jill Dr. Wilfred Madison (1999-2001)
    The Simpsons Numerous Voices (1989-)
    Saturday Night Live Writer, etc. (1979-85)

    The Big Uneasy (30-Aug-2010)
    Teddy Bears' Picnic (29-Mar-2002)

    Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project (13-Oct-2007) · Himself
    The Simpsons Movie (21-Jul-2007) [VOICE]
    Fired! (2-Feb-2007) · Himself
    For Your Consideration (10-Sep-2006) · Victor Allan Miller
    Chicken Little (3-Nov-2005) [VOICE]
    Marilyn Hotchkiss' Ballroom Dancing and Charm School (24-Jan-2005) · Promo Announcer
    The Aristocrats (Jan-2005) · Himself
    A Mighty Wind (12-Mar-2003) · Mark Shubb
    Teddy Bears' Picnic (29-Mar-2002)
    Gigantic (A Tale of Two Johns) (10-Mar-2002) · Himself
    Haiku Tunnel (22-Jan-2001)
    Dick (23-Jul-1999)
    Encounter in the Third Dimension (31-Mar-1999) · Narrator [VOICE]
    Ed TV (26-Mar-1999) · Moderator
    Small Soldiers (10-Jul-1998) · Punch-It [VOICE]
    The Truman Show (5-Jun-1998)
    Almost Heroes (29-May-1998) · Narrator
    Godzilla (18-May-1998) · Charles Caiman
    My Best Friend's Wedding (20-Jun-1997) · Jonathan P. E. Rice
    Speechless (16-Dec-1994) · Chuck
    Little Giants (14-Oct-1994)
    I'll Do Anything (4-Feb-1994) · Audience Research Captain
    Wayne's World 2 (10-Dec-1993) · Handsome Dan
    A Spinal Tap Reunion: The 25th Anniversary London Sell-Out (31-Dec-1992)
    A League of Their Own (1-Jul-1992)
    Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert (20-Apr-1992)
    The Fisher King (13-Sep-1991)
    Blood and Concrete (6-Sep-1991)
    Pure Luck (9-Aug-1991) · Monosoff
    Oscar (26-Apr-1991) · Guido Finucci
    My Stepmother is an Alien (9-Dec-1988) [VOICE]
    Plain Clothes (15-Apr-1988) · Simon Feck
    This Is Spinal Tap (2-Mar-1984) · Derek Smalls
    The Right Stuff (9-Sep-1983) · Recruiter
    One Trick Pony (3-Oct-1980)
    Animalympics (1-Feb-1980) [VOICE]
    Loose Shoes (1980) · Narrator [VOICE]
    The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh (21-Nov-1979)
    Real Life (2-Mar-1979)
    Prime Time (1977)

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