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Calling the toon; SIMPSONS FANS HOMER IN ON STARS OF HIT TV COMEDY.

THE voices behind America's funniest family made their faces known last night as they celebrated a decade of the Simpsons.

Nancy Cartwright, Dan Castellanata, Julia Kavner and Yeardley Smith - voice actors for the Simpsons - posed alongside cardboard cut-outs of Bart, Homer, Marge and Lisa.

They brought the Simpsons Mania show to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where it became this year's hottest event, selling out in under an hour.

To mark the 10th birthday of Matt Groening's creation, Homer was presented with his own star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame.

Nancy Cartwright, the voice of Bart, studied under Daws "Yogi Bear" Butler as a teenager,and was soon lending her voice to Richie Rich, My Little Pony and Animaniacs. Nancy says: "People who even talk of Bart as a role model aren't getting the show. I don't want my children using him as a role model."

Lisa is the only animated character voice actor Yeardley Smith has ever done. Although she has tried her hand at others, she reckons "it just sounds like Lisa doing an impersonation".

Yeardley says: "Lisa and I have a lot in common, because at age eight I didn't particularly belong anywhere either - she's a loner. It's a source of pain and drama for her."

Dan Castellanata, who plays American hero Homer, started out at Second City theatre in Chicago, where he quickly developed a reputation as a hidden comedy genius.

In 1987 he was lured to Los Angeles to work on the top-rated Tracey Ullman show.

It was there that Homer first made an appearance in a 60-second animated sketch. Dan says it took him just a few minutes to come up with Homer's distinctive voice and famously lifted Homer's 'Doh!' from the Laurel and Hardy films.

But Dan admitted: "I have to say I'm nothing like Homer, although I have started saying 'Mmmmm... sandwiches'."

Julia Kavner, who plays the devoted, almost saintly mother, Marge, was born in Los Angeles, and fell into her role as Marge Simpson while working on the Tracey Ullman Show.

She won an Emmy for her part in TV series Rhoda as Brenda, Rhoda's sister, and also made a memorable guest appearance on Taxi as Tony's sister Monica.

She is best known, however, for her film work, mainly in Woody Allen movies. She has worked with him in films such as Hannah and her Sisters, as well as Awakenings, starring Robert De Niro and Robin Williams.

Simpsons producer James L Brooks has also cast her in films he's directed recently, most notably I'll Do Anything.

On Marge she says: "If I wanted to remain anonymous I would have to keep my mouth shut."
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Author:Ramsay, Heather
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 17, 2000
Words:442
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