The Simpsons: Hank Azaria steps down as the voice of Apu
According to /Film, Emmy Award-winning voice actor Hank Azaria (Ray Donovan, Brockmire) has officially confirmed that he will no longer be voicing the character of Apu in future episodes of Fox’s long-running animated sitcom The Simpsons after 30 seasons. He further explained that his retirement as Apu’s voice was a completely mutual decision between him and the producers.
“What they’re going to do with the character is their call,” Azaria said. “It’s up to them and they haven’t sorted it out yet. All we’ve agreed on is I won’t do the voice anymore…We all feel like it’s the right thing and good about it.”
Azaria first lent his voice to the fan-favorite Indian immigrant character in episode 1.08 titled “The Telltale Head” which aired on February 1990. For his voice work in the show, he has earned four Emmy Awards for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance.
The controversy about Azaria’s voice performance as Apu came to light in 2018 after the release of Hari Kondabolu’s documentary film titled The Problem with Apu, which had examined white actors who had played South Asian roles as stereotypes. During an appearance at The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in 2018, Azaria shared his reaction to the documentary, revealing that his perspective about the issue changed saying that “The idea that anyone, young or old, past or present, was bullied or teased based on the character of Apu, it just really makes me sad.”
Created by Matt Groening (Futurama, Disenchantment), The Simpsons has been on-air for more than 30 years and had become a pop-culture phenomenon. The voice cast is consists of Dan Castellaneta as Homer Simpson, Julie Kavner as his wife Marge, Nancy Cartwright as Bart, and Herman’s Head’s Yeardley Smith as Lisa.
New episodes air every Sunday night on FOX.
(Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)