‘The Simpsons’ Replaces Harry Shearer As the Voice of Dr. Hibbert

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After decades with the exact same cast, with changes generally occurring only in case of the deaths of actors, The Simpsons has begun to bring in new voices. In the last year, they finally bowed to criticism about the casting of white voice actors as the people of color in Springfield. That criticism was loudest about Apu, the Indian proprietor of the local Kwik-E-Mart, played by Hank Azaria. After initially resisting calls for a change, Azaria eventually announced he was done playing Apu even before The Simpsons had found a replacement for him.

When the current season of The Simpsons started last fall, Azaria was also replaced as the voice of Carl, Homer’s buddy from work, who was now played by actor Alex Désert. This week, another longtime Springfield resident gets a new voice. According to Deadline, this Sunday’s episode was the last one to feature longtime Simpsons star Harry Shearer as the voice of Dr. Hibbert, the town doctor. He will be replaced by voice actor Kevin Michael Richardson.

Richardson is a veteran voice actor with many credits to his name; he’s appeared on animated series like Family GuyF Is For Family, and Teen Titans Go! He’s also made dozens of appearances on The Simpsons through the years, playing guest characters like Dave Chappelle, the Demogorgon, and Louis Armstrong. As for Shearer, he still plays characters including Mr. Burns and Smithers, Principal Skinner, and Kent Brockman. Last year, he questioned the push to replace white cast members who voiced characters of color in an interview, saying ““I have a very simple belief about acting. The job of the actor is to play someone who they’re not.”

Despite Shearer’s belief, he is now not Dr. Hibbert. You can hear the character’s new voice starting next week. The Simpsons airs Sundays on Fox.

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