Not only is The Simpsons the most popular animated series in television history, it is also the longest running scripted series in America. The series has become a cultural icon, therefore it’s no wonder that tons of celebrities have agreed or even asked (or begged), to lend their voices to the hit sitcom.
To honor the show’s 30th anniversary, which took place on December 17, 2019, we’re taking a look back at the big names and voices who have appeared alongside Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie over the years.
Meryl Streep is a super successful Academy Award-winning actress, but even she couldn’t pass up the chance to voice a character on The Simpsons. In 1994, she appeared on the show as Jessica Lovejoy, Reverend Lovejoy’s daughter, who Bart is secretly dating in the episode “Bart’s Girlfriend.”
Entertainment Weekly named Streep’s role as one of the show’s best guest appearances.
Alex Trebek, the iconic host of television quiz show Jeopardy, appeared on The Simpsons as himself in the 1997 Christmas episode.
The episode, titled “Miracle on Evergreen Terrace,” is a parody on Christmas classic Miracle on 34th Street and portrays Trebek as a sinister villain.
Homer and Marge’s marriage is put to the test in the season 5 episode “The Last Temptation of Homer,” by a new co-worker in the power plant named Mindy Simmons.
And it’s no surprise that Homer is tempted, not only does Mindy like napping and donuts, she is also voiced by the irresistible Michelle Pfeiffer.
The Simpsons’ third season became a little bit rock and roll, when the members of Aerosmith appeared as themselves in the episode “Flaming Moe’s.”
The band’s album “Get a Grip”, reached number one, a first for them, just two years later. This success caused some people to believe that a Simpsons cameo was good luck for a celebrity’s career.
Captain Spock himself, Leonard Nimoy, appeared twice in two classic Simpsons episodes. He first appeared in season 4 in “Marge vs. the Monorail,” which many consider one of the show’s best episodes.
He then returned in season 8 for “The Springfield Files”, which was a crossover episode with The X-Files and also featured the voices of David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson.
In 1992, legendary actress Elizabeth Taylor stunned audiences when she voiced baby Maggie Simpson’s first word, during the episode “Lisa’s First Word.” She only said one word in the entire episode, but it was a doozie, silent Maggie saying the word “daddy” for the first time.
Taylor also appeared on the show a year later. She played herself in the 1993 episode, “Krusty Gets Kancelled.”
Although the part was reportedly initially intended for Bruce Springsteen, British singer Sting did an amazing job when he voiced himself in the 1992 episode “Radio Bart.”
Total Film's Nathan Ditum ranked his performance as the 11th best guest appearance in the show's history and the episode was even nominated for an Emmy award.
Sofia Vergara, who is famous for her sexy characters, guest stars as Bart’s new teacher Ms. Berrera, in the episode “Teenage Mutant Milk-Caused Hurdles.”
It soon turns out that Bart, and the rest of the men and boys in town, all have a crush on her.
Famous for his work on 30 Rock, comedian Tracy Morgan has also appeared on The Simpsons on two occasions.
He voiced himself in 2018 on the show’s 30th season in the episode "My Way or the Highway to Heaven," and later that year played the character of a tow truck driver in the episode, “Baby You Can’t Drive My Car.”
Music legend Barry White appeared on the show as himself on the beloved season 4 episode “Whacking Day.” The episode depicts a fictional holiday in which the residents of Springfield whack snakes with sticks.
Bart, Lisa and Barry White hatch a plan to rescue he snakes, the highlight of which is a rendition of “Can’t Get Enough of your Love, Babe” with Lisa on bass.
Neil Patrick Harris
Neil Patrick Harris shocked Simpsons fans when he took on the immortal role of troublemaker Bart Simpson in the 1991 episode “Bart the Murderer”.
It's the episode in which Principal Skinner mysteriously disappears and Bart is put on trial for his possible murder.
One of our favorite celebrities, beloved actress and comedian Betty White, appeared on the show over twenty years ago in 1999, in the episode “Missionary: Impossible.”
She played herself as a celebrity who was manning the telephones to raise money for PBS.
Legendary actress and seven-time Oscar nominee Glenn Close has appeared on The Simpsons multiple times over the years, as Homer’s mother, Mona Simpson.
She voiced the character for the first time in 1995, and most recently she appeared on the December 2019 episode “Todd, Todd, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?”
The first ever hour-long episode of The Simpsons, “The Great Phatsby” aired in early 2017.
The episode featured a lot of big hip-hop names playing themselves, including rapper, actor and producer Common and actress Taraji P. Henson.
Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul star Bob Odenkirk, took a move from Saul Goodman’s playbook when he appeared in the October 2019 episode “The Fat Blue Line,” in which he played a sleazy mob lawyer.
Jason Momoa also appeared in the episode as a version of himself, who is invited by Mayor Quimby to talk at an Italian themed street festival.
Amy Schumer appeared on the show as Mrs. Burns, Monty Burns’ mother, in the season 28 premiere episode.
The episode was an homage to Monty Python’s Flying Circus and was aptly named, “Monty Burns’ Fleeing Circus.”
Game of Thrones actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau voiced the character of Markery on The Simpsons season 29 premiere episode, titled “The Serfsons”, in 2017.
In the kingdom of Springfieldia, Homer must set out on a dangerous mission in order to save the life of Marge’s mother.
Comedian Sarah Silverman appeared on The Simpsons annual special Halloween episode in 2016, as Lisa Simpson’s imaginary friend Rachel, who loves her a little too much.
She received the cool credit name “Scare-uh Kill-vermin” in the show’s 600th episode titled “Treehouse of Horror, XXVII”
Famous physicist Stephen Hawking swooped in to save the day in the 1999 episode “They Saved Lisa’s Brain.”
He taught the family and the town of Springfield an important lesson about intelligence not being everything and reportedly had a blast doing it.
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards
Probably the episode with the most musical guest stars in the show’s history, is season 14’s “How I Spent My Strummer Vacation.” Rolling Stones legends Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are the episode’s main stars, but Elvis Costello, Lenny Kravitz, Tom Petty, and Brian Setzer also make an appearance.
They all play a version of themselves who are instructors at Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp, in which Homer enrolls immediately.
Kathleen Turner voiced the creator of a Barbie type doll and helps Lisa battle sexism in the toy industry in the season 5 episode “Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy.”
Turner’s signature husky voice was a perfect fit for a world-weary toy mogul.
Paul and Linda McCartney
Paul and Linda McCartney appeared on The Simpsons and helped Lisa deal with a conflict with her father about being a vegetarian. The episode, titled “Lisa the Vegetarian,” aired in 1995 and won two awards for highlighting environmental issues and animal rights.
Apparently, Paul would only appear on the show if Lisa remained a vegetarian, which she still is all these years later.
After three decades of network television, it is no wonder that the premiere of season 30 of The Simpsons was a star-studded affair. Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot played herself in the episode titled “Bart’s Not Dead.”
The story revolves on a faith-based film being made about The Simpsons, in which Gadot auditions for the role of Lisa, Emily Deschanel (as herself) auditions to play Marge and Jonathan Groff (also as himself) auditions to play Bart.
Legendary comedian Martin Short brought his own brand of funny to The Simpsons on season 29, in the episode “Springfield Splendor.”
He voiced the character of Guthrie Frenel, a theatrical director who wants to turn Marge and Lisa’s graphic novel “Sad Girl” into a Broadway musical.
Who else could play Homer’s long-lost half-brother so perfectly, other than comic actor Danny DeVito? He voiced the character of Herb Powell three times over the years.
In the second season episode “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?” Homer tracks his brother down and finds out that he is a successful car manufacturer but causes him to go bankrupt. In season 3, Powell who is down on his luck stays with the family, but thanks to Maggie, he invents a baby translator and regains his fortune.
Star Wars star Mark Hamill is famous for not taking himself too seriously, making him the perfect choice to appear in the season 10 episode “Mayored to the Mob.”
In the episode, Hamill and Mayor Quimby are about to be trampled during a sci-fi convention but are saved at the last minute by Homer.
On the 2018 Thanksgiving episode, “‘Tis the 30th Season,” comedian and actress Jane Lynch appears as Jeanie, a theme park manager. The episode revolves around Marge’s plans to save Christmas after their Black Friday shopping spree was a disaster.
Homer and the kids decide to save the day by surprising her with a trip to a resort in Florida. This wasn’t the Emmy winner’s first time on the show, however, she also played Homer’s backstabbing assistant in an episode from season 23, titled “Replaceable You.”
The King of Pop, Michael Jackson, was a fan of the show and reached out to Simpsons creator Matt Groening to appear in an episode. Due to contractual obligations he could not appear under his own name, so he used the pseudonym “John Jay Smith.”
Jackson voiced the character Leon Kompowsky in the episode “Stark Raving Dad,” and although he wrote the song “Happy Birthday Lisa,” he couldn’t sing it without getting into trouble with the record label and it was sung by a singing double named Kipp Lennon.
The author of one of the most famous book series in history, J.K. Rowling, appeared as her animated self in the season 15 episode, “The Regina Monologues.”
Fellow Brits former Prime Minister Tony Blair and actor Ian McKellen joined her in the episode, in which the Simpson family travel to the United Kingdom on vacation.
Comedian and actor Keegan-Michael Key did plenty of work on animated shows, such as BoJack Horseman and Bob’s Burgers, so he had plenty of experience when it was time for him to appear in The Simpsons’ star studded episode “The Great Phatsby.”
He voiced the character Jazzy James, a former boy-band rap singer recruited by Monty Burns to help him recover his swindled millions.
Sir Patrick Stewart
Sir Patrick Stewart may be known primarily from his work on Star Trek: The Next Generation and the X-Men movies, but he is also quite familiar with lending his voice to animated shows.
You could say that his portrayal of Number One in the episode “Homer the Great” from 1995, prepared him for his regular role on another animated sitcom, Family Guy.
Snoop Dogg is yet another famous hip-hop star, who appeared on The Simpsons’ hour-long rap themed episode “The Great Phatsby.”
Unsurprisingly, Snoop’s persona on the show was an extremely chill version of himself.
In season 8, Johnny Cash plays Homer Simpson’s spirit animal Space Coyote, when he goes on a trip after eating some Guatemalan insanity peppers at the chili cook off.
The episode titled “The Mysterious Voyage of Homer,” is one of the series’ most surreal episodes, made even more so by Cash’s iconic voice.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers
When Krusty the Clown’s television show gets cancelled, Lisa and Bart decide to get him back on the air with a comeback special. You know who can help with that? Yes, lots and lots of celebrities.
Members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers appear as themselves in the final episode of the fourth season ("Krusty Gets Kancelled") and are joined by Hugh Hefner, Elizabeth Taylor, Luke Perry, Johnny Carson and Bette Midler.
Two-time Oscar winner Dustin Hoffman played the character of Mr. Bergstrom in the 1991 episode “Lisa’s Substitute.”
He voiced a teacher who comes to Lisa’s class and impresses her with big words and an appreciation for poetry, which immediately and inadvertently causes her to fall in love with him.
Ray Donovan star Liev Schreiber has multiple Emmy nominations for his narration skills, so it’s no surprise The Simpsons reached out for him to come on and show them off in an episode from 2019.
He appeared as a narrator for documentary crime series “Dateline: Springfield”, which was a show within a show and examined the theft of Lisa’s college money, in the episode “Woo-Hoo Dunnit?”
2 Broke Girls actress Kat Dennings voiced the character of Valerie in the 2017 Simpsons episode “Mr. Lisa’s Opus.”
The episode takes a look back in time at Lisa’s life as she is trying to write her college essay, while Ned tries to help Homer treat his problems with alcohol.
Actress and rapper Awkwafina lent her vocal talents to The Simpsons twice in 2019. She first appeared in the episode “Bart vs. Itchy & Scratchy,” as Carmen, a sixth grader who is a member of feminist group Bossy Riot. She was in good company, the other two members of her group were voiced by Nailed It! host Nicole Byer and Brooklyn Nine-Nine funny woman Chelsea Peretti.
Later that year, she played a doctor who works in a Canadian emergency room, in the episode “D’oh Canada.”
Nine Major League Baseball Players
In the show’s third season, The Simpsons’ producers decided to take on an immense challenge, having nine Major League Baseball players all appear in a single episode. In “Homer at the Bat,” the Power Plant softball team makes it to the championship game and Mr. Burns decides to ensure victory by bringing in nine ringers: Roger Clemens, Wade Boggs, Ken Griffey, Jr., Steve Sax, Ozzie Smith, Jose Canseco, Don Mattingly, Darryl Strawberry and Mike Scioscia.
It took months to record all their voices, but it was worth it, the airing of that episode was the first time in which The Simpsons beat hit sitcom The Cosby Show in the ratings.
Taraji P. Henson
In a special double episode on The Simpsons’ 28th season, Empire actress Taraji P. Henson, voiced the character of Praline, the ex-wife of a con artist who swindled Monty Burns.
The episode, which aired on January 15, 2017, was a parody on the novel The Great Gatsby, the film version by Baz Lurhmann and Empire, and was aptly named “The Great Phatsby.”
Famous for her voice work on another hit show, Gossip Girl, no one could bring Lisa Simpson’s spoiled rich friend Harper to life better than Kristen Bell.
She appeared on the episode “Friend with Benefit” from 2015, in which a billionaire’s daughter makes Lisa her new middle-class friend. Magician David Copperfield also appeared on the episode as himself.
Celebrity financial advisor, Suze Orman, lent her voice to the show in 2017. She played herself in the episode titled “The Caper Chase,” in which Mr. Burns decides to open a college and for some reason chooses to have Homer Simpson as one of the professors.
The episode also featured the voices of Jason Alexander, Stan Lee and Neil deGrasse Tyson.
Star Trek veteran George Takei appeared on the second season of The Simpsons in 1991, in the episode “One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish,” as a Japanese character named Akira.
In this fan favorite, Homer eats improperly prepared blowfish and is told that he only has 22 hours left to live.
The Cast of 'Girls'
On the season 27 premiere, the cast of the hit HBO series Girls made a special appearance on the show.
Lena Dunham, Jemima Kirke, Allison Williams, Zosia Mamet and Adam Driver (not pictured), voiced characters in the episode, “Every Man’s Dream.” Dunham even played Homer’s love interest.