INTERVIEW: Nancy Cartwright

Published in The Music (WA & NSW) and on, June 2015



When an integral, long-running voice actor departed The Simpsons in May, fans worldwide went into panic. The voice of Bart Simpson, Nancy Cartwright, tells Daniel Cribb not to worry, and reveals a new project in the works.

Having been the voice of Bart Simpson, Ralph Wiggum, Nelson Muntz and more since The Simpsons started 26 seasons ago in 1989, it’s not surprising Nancy Cartwright has picked up enough knowledge along the way to produce her own show. “I’ve got an animated show that I’m pitching,” she reveals. “It’s called Unassisted Living and it takes place at a retirement home. We’re in development and pitching, but it’s fully fleshed out and ready to go. It takes place in a retirement facility and everybody thinks they’re dying and somebody comes in to run the place that is only twenty-two years old, and she gets them all working and contributing.”

That’s on top of turning her 1995 one-woman stage show, In Search Of Fellini, into a film for release next year and her interest in sculpting. It’s surprising Cartwright has the time to commit to another project, with The Simpsons being renewed for an additional two seasons over the next two years. That news unfortunately also came with the departure of voice actor Harry Shearer, who voices about half of Springfield in Ned Flanders, Principal Skinner, Mr. Burns, Mr. Smithers and more, who is stepping down from the show due to reported contractual issues. It’s a subject that makes Cartwright uneasy. “I don’t really have all the details on it; you’ve got to interview Maggie Simpson (which, of course, Cartwright also voices), and I don’t think she’s talkin’. The show’s going to go on. It’s unfortunate, but I don’t know that he’s really gone.”

Despite the hiccup, Cartwright, who, for her work as Bart’s voice, won an Emmy in 1992 for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance and an Annie Award in 1995 for Best Voice Acting in the Field of Annimation, is certain that the next seasons will still continue strong. “The pick of seasons 27 and 28 is great news. Doing a negotiation is always a challenge; it’s not fun for anybody, to be honest with you. It’s a lot of pressure, but the outcome of it, I’m very happy to be back and I’m glad it worked out for two years guaranteed.”