In what might be best described as an epic exhibition of saving the best for last, it was announced Monday that Harry Shearer, the only primary cast member of “The Simpsons” to never have won the award, has finally won an Emmy for his incomparable voice work on the iconic animated sitcom. Shearer has been voicing multiple characters on “The Simpsons” for the entirety of its 25-year run.
Surprisingly, in addition to being his first win, this was only the second time Shearer had been nominated, his first nod came in 2009. He was recognized for his work in the episode “Four Regrettings and a Funeral,” in which he performed the voices of C. Montgomery Burns and Burns’ assistant Waylon Smithers, as well as Springfield newscaster Kent Brockman and, in a flashback, a young Mr. Burns. Aside from these characters, Shearer also voices popular characters such as Otto the Bus Driver, diminutive curmudgeon Jasper Beardly, Homer Simpson’s irritatingly upbeat neighbor Ned Flanders and the elementary school principal Seymour Skinner.
Those unfamiliar with the “The Simpsons” might recognize Shearer as Derek Smalls, the bassist from “This is Spinal Tap,” as a more-or-less stock performer in Christopher Guest’s mockumentary-style films, or as Handsome Dan in “Wayne’s World 2.” He was also a writer and a featured performer on “Saturday Night Live” from 1979 until 1985.
The presentation of Shearer’s award came Saturday during the Creative Arts Emmys, a lead up to the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards, which will be televised next week. With his first win, Shearer is now tied with fellow cast members Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, and Yeardley Smith. He trails Hank Azaria’s three Emmys and Dan Castellanetta’s four.