One year after Hank azaria officially announce that I stopped giving voice to Apu in ‘The Simpson’ , now the chain has decided to take a new step to diversify its voice cast and has announced that Harry Shearer will not be voicing the character of Dr. Julius Hibbert after more than thirty years.
Harry Shearer hands over the witness to Kevin Michael Richardson, who will now double as Dr. Hibbert
The last episode in which Shearer lent his voice to the Springfield General Hospital doctor was broadcast last Sunday, titled « Diary Queen. » The actor Kevin Michael Richardson, who has already voiced several minor characters in the series, will take over in « Wad Goals », the episode that will premiere on February 28.
This move won’t affect Shearer too much, who has a long list of characters that he voices in ‘The Simpsons’. The veteran actor has been a member of the main cast of the popular Fox animated comedy since its inception and has doubled major characters like Ned Flanders, director Skinner, Lenny, host Kent Brockman, Mr. Burns or Smithers, just to name a few.
Changes in the industry
The voice change of the character of Dr. Hibbert is the latest in a growing list of similar cases both in ‘The Simpsons’ and in other animated series. In addition to the case of Apu, in ‘The Simpsons’ Azaria stopped doubling Carl in favor of Alex Désert Tress, and the character of Kumiko albertson, which now doubles Jenny Yokobori and that before had the voice of Tress macneille.
Among the series that have also had to face this type of controversy and chose to reformulate the characters of color are ‘Big Mouth’ of Netflix, who decided to change Missy’s voice from the voice of Jenny slate to that of Ayo Edebiri, Y ‘Central Park’ Apple TV +, which changed to Kristen Bell by Emmy Raver-Lampman.