Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Q&A: Voicing Bart Simpson pays well

Nancy Cartwright, the voice of Bart Simpson, reportedly earns $400,000 per episode.

Getty Images

Nancy Cartwright, the voice of Bart Simpson, reportedly earns $400,000 per episode.

Voicing Bart Simpson pays well

Recently I read that the lady that does the voice of Bart Simpson in the TV show donated $10 million to the Church of Scientology. I didn't know that this type of work paid so well.

Nancy Cartwright, 52, is the voice of Bart Simpson as well as several other characters of the long-running animated comedy, including Todd Flanders, Nelson Muntz, Ralph Wiggum, Kearney and Database.

She intended to audition for the Lisa Simpson part when the show was being cast in 1987 as part of the variety show, The Tracey Ullman Show, but was more interested in the Bart role and won it. The first year of the program, Fox did not allow her to give interviews because it didn't want anyone to know Bart's voice was that of a woman.

The Simpsons took off and has been on TV ever since, for almost 450 episodes. And yes, the gig pays very, very well. Cartwright and the other five main voice characters receive a reported $400,000 per episode.

She published her autobiography, My Life as a 10-Year-Old Boy, in 2000, and in 2004 it was adapted into a one-woman play.

Cartwright, who was brought up in the Roman Catholic faith in Kettering, Ohio, joined Scientology in the late 1980s and in 2007 donated $10 million to it. She holds the second highest rank the group gives, Operating Thetan VII.

Her dual associations — Bart and Scientology — came together in January and created a stir. She used Bart's voice in an automated telephone message for the group. It was reported that her bosses "had a cow," as Bart likes to say, but the show's executive producer, Al Jean, had only this to say: "The Simpsons does not, and never has, endorsed any religion, philosophy or system of beliefs any more profound than Butterfinger bars."

The banjo boy in 'Deliverance'

We were watching the 1972 movie Deliverance the other night and had a question. Who was the young man who "played" the banjo in the Dueling Banjos music segment? I know the sounds were dubbed, but was the young man a local or an actor? Has he ever appeared in anything else?

That was Billy Redden, who was in elementary school when director John Boorman cast him in the Burt Reynolds-Jon Voight movie. He had never acted in a film before and would go more than 30 years before performing in his second — the Tim Burton-directed Big Fish. Instead, he reportedly worked in and partly owned a diner in Georgia. According to a 2003 profile in England's Independent, "His mother even sold the banjo which he was given as a keepsake to pay some outstanding bills."

Not that he could have made use of the instrument. You are correct that Redden did not play the banjo; in fact, a body double was used for the on-camera playing. The hit version of the song was by Eric Weissberg.

Q&A: Voicing Bart Simpson pays well 11/16/09 [Last modified: Monday, November 16, 2009 11:11pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays waste repeated opportunities in 5-3 loss to Blue Jays

    The Heater

    TORONTO — Rays manager Kevin Cash made a case for urgency before Thursday's game, in both actions and words, making significant changes to the structure of the lineup and sincere comments about time running short.

    Trevor Plouffe of the Rays reacts as he pops out with the bases loaded in the sixth inning. [Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images]
  2. Spanish PM voices solidarity with Barcelona


    BARCELONA, Spain — Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy says his country is mourning in solidarity with the city of Barcelona and other cities in Europe that have been hit by deadly extremist attacks.

    An injured person is treated in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017 after a white van jumped the sidewalk in the historic Las Ramblas district, crashing into a summer crowd of residents and tourists and injuring several people, police said. [Associated Press]
  3. Confederate statue: Why Bucs, Lightning, Rays took a stand


    They didn't want another Charlottesville.

    Marc Rodriguez, a member of the "Florida Fight for $15" organization, stands in protest along with other activists demanding the Confederate  monument be removed from the old Hillsborough County Courthouse in Tampa. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  4. Rep. Larry Ahern gets roughed up by Clearwater City Council

    State Roundup

    It seemed innocuous enough: an "end of session report" from state Rep. Larry Ahern, R-Seminole, to the Clearwater City Council.

    Then Ahern got taken to the woodshed.

    Rep. Larry Ahern is vying for a seat on the Pinellas commission.
  5. Hillsborough County erects wooden barrier to protect Confederate monument from vandalism

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Hillsborough County workers began constructing a wooden barrier around the base of the Confederate monument by the old county courthouse Thursday evening.

    A Hillsborough County construction crew erects a wooden barrier around the Confederate monument at the old county courthouse Thursday, out of concern about potential vandalism. [Courtesy of WTSP]