Harry Shearer, who voices Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders, and Principal Skinner, is leaving The Simpsons after 26 seasons.
Shearer tweeted the news last night. He wrote, “This because I wanted what we’ve always had: the freedom to do other work.” Additionally he quoted Simpsons producer James L. Brooks’ lawyer who said, “Harry will not be part of it, wish him the best.”
Executive producers Matt Groening, Al Jean and Brooks confirmed the news in a statement. “Harry Shearer was offered the same deal the rest of the cast accepted, and passed. The show will go on and we wish him well. Maggie took it hard.”
Shearer has voiced many different characters throughout the years including; Smithers, Kent Brockman, Rev. Lovejoy, Otto and others. In the statement, Jean assured fans that his characters would not be killed off because of Shearer’s exit. “We do not plan to kill off characters like Burns and Flanders but will recast with the finest voiceover talent available,” Jean said.
The Simpsons was recently renewed for two more seasons through 2017 by Fox, according to Variety. The finale for season 26 will air on Sunday on Fox.