Harry Shearer

Active - 1977 - 2020  |   Born - Dec 23, 1943 in Los Angeles, California, United States  |   Genres - Comedy

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Biography by Hal Erickson

California native Harry Shearer was one of the busier child actors of the 1950s. He appeared in such films as The Robe (1953) (as the boy David) and Abbott and Costello Go to Mars (1953); he could be heard on such radio programs as Suspense, Lux Radio Theatre, and the Jack Benny Show; and among his many TV guest roles was the character who would evolve into Eddie Haskell in the 1955 Leave It to Beaver pilot.

After attending U.C.L.A., Shearer flourished as a standup comedian and comedy writer. He was frequently employed on the writing staff for such TV laughspinners as Laverne and Shirley and America 2Night; he also worked both sides of the camera in the 1984 rockumentary parody This Is Spinal Tap, co-starring as rock idol Derek Smalls and co-writing the script with director Rob Reiner and fellow cast members Christopher Guest and Michael McKean. In league with another top satirist, Albert Brooks, Shearer concocted the screenplay for another faux documentary, 1979's Real Lampoon. During the 1984-1985 TV season, Shearer joined the Not Ready for Prime Time Players on NBC's Saturday Night Live.

The soft-spoken, saturnine Harry Shearer is most famous however for lending his voice to the Fox Network cartoon series The Simpsons.

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  • His parents met in Havana after they fled their respective home countries following Adolf Hitler's rise to power.
  • Played Eddie Haskell in the Leave It to Beaver pilot, but was replaced by Ken Osmond.
  • Post-college, he taught high school in Los Angeles. He also worked as a stringer for Newsweek and covered the 1965 Watts Riots for the magazine.
  • Member of Credibility Gap, a comedy group from the early '70s.
  • Was cast on The Simpsons by series creator Matt Groening, a longtime fan of Shearer's work. Over the years, Shearer has voiced up to 22 characters an episode, including Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders and Principal Skinner.
  • Published his first novel, Not Enough Indians—a farcical take on Native American-owned casinos—in 2006.
  • Hosts Le Show, a weekly comedy series on public radio.