Harry Shearer Hands Off Dr. Hibbert to a Black Actor
Veteran voice actor Kevin Michael Richardson will take over the role from white actor Harry Shearer.
31 years after being introduced in The Simpsons episode “Bart the Daredevil,” Dr. Julius Hibbert will finally be voiced by a Black performer, as veteran voice actor Kevin Michael Richardson will take over the Black character from white actor Harry Shearer.
Shearer (pictured below) has voiced Dr. Hibbert from the beginning, and in recent years has pushed back against the need to recast the character with an actor of color, but he recently relented and has agreed to voice Hibbert for the final time in this Sunday’s episode “DiaryQueen” according to Vulture, which broke the news.
The team behind The Simpsons has taken strides of late to diversify its voice cast, with Hank Azaria stepping down from the role of Apu, Springfield’s beloved convenience store owner, as well as Homer’s co-worker Carl Carlson, who is now voiced by Alex Désert. Meanwhile, Tress MacNeille turned over the role of Kumiko Albertson, the wife of Comic Book Guy, to Jenny Yokobori.
Richardson will make his debut as Dr. Hibbert in the show’s Feb. 28 episode “Wad Goals,” a long overdue move that the show’s producers hinted at when they announced in June 2020 that “moving forward, The Simpsons will no longer have white actors voice non-white characters.”
Richardson is hardly a stranger to the Simpsons family, as he has worked on more than 70 of the show. He has also worked on F Is for Family, American Dad and Family Guy, the latter of which faced its own racial reckoning when Mike Henry stepped down from voicing the Black character of Cleveland Brown. There were also notable recastings on Netflix’s Big Mouth and Apple’s Central Park, and frankly, it’s heartening to see the animation industry finally take action to become more inclusive, even if it has been a long time coming.
Consider us officially excited about this new show.
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