Over the course of the last year, we’ve seen announcements from several animated comedies that characters of colour would no longer be voiced by white actors, including Missy from Big Mouth, Cleveland Brown on Family Guy, and Apu Nahasapeemapetilon on The Simpsons. In fact, The Simpsons stated that they would “no longer have white actors voice non-white characters,” which left the fate of many characters up in the air.
It was announced today that Harry Shearer would no longer voice Dr. Julius Hibbert on The Simpsons, and that the jovial doctor will now be voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson, a veteran voice-actor whose credits include, but certainly aren’t limited to, Pinky and the Brain, The PJs, Family Guy, Samurai Jack, Static Shock, Teen Titans, The Batman, American Dad, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Young Justice, The Legend of Korra, The Cleveland Show, and Rick and Morty, as well as over seventy episodes of The Simpsons. This past weekend’s episode of The Simpsons will now be the last to feature Harry Shearer as Dr. Hibbert, as the February 28th episode, Wad Goals, will find Richardson taking over the role. In addition to Dr. Hibbert, it had previously been announced that Alex Désert would be taking over the role of Carl Carlson (previously played by Hank Azaria) and that Jenny Yokobori would be playing Kumiko Albertson (previously played by Tress MacNeille), the wife of Comic Book Guy.
Dr. Julius Hibbert first appeared in Bart the Daredevil, the classic episode which found Bart attempting to jump Springfield Gorge on his skateboard. The episode aired during the show’s second season all the way back in 1990. Good lord, this show really has been on forever.