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For Willie Nelson, see the aforementioned article. For the character Willie Nelson plays, see Willie Nelson (character).

"Save yer strength, lad! There's a whole field for you to resod yet!"
―First lines to Bart[src]
"Ach! Sounds like that gopher I caught in me lawnmower!"
―Willie judging Lisa's saxophone recital.[src]
"Guess there's some stones in your leaf bag, after all."
"Save me from the wee turtles! They were too quick for me!"
"Uh-oh. The little fat boy and his family are in trouble."
"Willie hears ya, Willie don't care."
"Brothers and sisters are natural enemies, like Englishmen and Scots! Or Welshmen and Scots! Or Japanese and Scots! Or Scots and other Scots! Damn Scots! They ruined Scotland!"

Dr. William "Willie" MacDougal III (Scots Gaelic: Uilleam MacDhùghaill), also known as William Sean McLavel, G.K. Willington Esquire, and William MacMoran, best known as Groundskeeper Willie (Scots Gaelic: Fear-gleidhidh talmhainn Uilleam) is the groundskeeper and janitor of Springfield Elementary School and a minor character in The Simpsons Movie who's originally from Scotland. Willie's job is to supervise the children of the school during recess, and clean the halls. He is recognizable for his red hair and thick Scottish accent. He is often either a formidable enemy or an invaluable ally to Bart and Lisa Simpson; mostly, he has a strained relationship with Principal Seymour Skinner. Willie's either originally from the Scottish town of Kirkwall[3][4] or a place called North Kilttown, which is likely a reference to the hamlet of Domaduir, near Kyle of Lochalsh.[5] Willie is 45 years old.


Greenskeeper Willie

Willie as Greenskeeper.

Pranks and Greens 29

Younger Willie

Willie is the groundskeeper at Springfield Elementary School and is a stereotypical angry Scotsman with a heavy Scottish accent. He worked in the same amount of years as Principal Skinner.[6] He was originally hired at Springfield Elementary as "Swim Teacher Willie." Unfortunately, after Skinner was trapped in the worm-filled pool for three days, he had the pool destroyed, and made Willie a groundskeeper.[7] On weekends and during summer vacations, Willie tends to the golf course at the Springfield Glen Country Club, giving himself the appropriate renaming of "Greenskeeper Willie."[8] He has claimed to originate from several different places in Scotland, and frequently gives contradictory accounts of his past life before arriving in Springfield. Willie once told a story of working at a mine that caved in, saying "No one made it out alive, not even Willie!"[9] Also Willie once told Skinner that he had seen his own father hanged for stealing a pig[10] although both of his parents can be seen alive in Scotland later.[11] It is possible that Willie has a murderous past as we are told he is the spitting image of the Aberdeen Strangler, an affirmation which he doesn't deny, innocently whistling by.[12] However, it is likely he only kills unintentionally: he accidentally killed the boy who became the playground ghost of Springfield Elementary, all because of his sassy mouth.[13]

Willie is incompetent and is quick to anger for little or no reason. He has shown great animosity towards both Principal Skinner and Bart Simpson, the latter of whom is often more than willing to make Willie the butt of his jokes. Twice, Bart destroyed Willie's shack: the first out of revenge for taking his skateboard[14]; the second accidentally.[15] Superintendent Chalmers once said that he never yelled at Willie like he does at Skinner because he liked him.[16] At one time, Skinner quit and Chalmers replaced him with Willie as both Principal and Groundskeeper, though he never increased his salary, much to the Scotsman's disappointment.[17]

Groundskeeper-willie idiot

Groundskeeper Willie playing and singing "I'm a maniac, maniac, that's for sure...".

Willie once discovered an oil well by accident because he was attempting to bury the school hamster. Because of the school's new wealth, he requested a crystal pail. However, after Mr. Burns stole the oil, which not only resulted in the loss of the school's newly gained fortune, but also causing the school to go into an even worse financial state than before due to the cost of dismantling the oil tower, Skinner was forced to lay off Groundskeeper Willie, in order to preserve the remaining school budget, causing Willie to wish to murder Mr. Burns and seriously injure Mr. Smithers.[18] When interrogated by the police, he answers that he wasn't able to because of arthritis in both of his index fingers, preventing him from utilizing a pistol, which he got "from Space Invaders in 1977" and implying right after that he doesn't even know what a video game is, asking ignorantly "Video game?" and therefore pretending to have fought aliens for real.[19] However, he fired a rifle at a weather balloon vandalized by Bart[20]; it's as if handling a pistol and handling a rifle are two separate things to him. Later, he was seen shooting an empty pistol in the Springfield County Court House with pinpoint accuracy, indicating that his arthritis may have been fixed.[21] He once had a cache of "screw you money", but he ended up losing it all, presumably due to Artie Ziff cheating out ZiffCorp's shareholders.[22]

Willie's hobbies include videotaping couples in cars, something which proves to the benefit of Homer Simpson when he is wrongfully accused of sexual harassment.[23] At one time, Willie was engaged to Shary Bobbins until she recovered her eyesight—at which point, in Willie's words, "Suddenly the ugliest man in Glasgow wasn't good enough for her!"[24] Willie was once given the job of teaching Bart Simpson. Lisa had taken a restraining order against Bart, so he couldn't legally go to the same school. Willie became Bart's teacher because, according to Principal Skinner, Willie's shack is the only place on the school grounds that "falls outside all laws of Man or God."[25]

Hokuto no willie

Groundskeeper Willie tearing off his shirt.

He also took part in the Medieval Festival, but he disrupted it and Principal Skinner expelled Bart who had mistaken him as the one who disrupted it; Willie later explained to Skinner that he was the one who was disrupted the festival. Principal Skinner then realized his mistake and welcomed Bart back as an apology and was then scolded along with Willie by Superintendent Chalmers for expelling the wrong culprit.[26] He also held a particular hatred for the holiday of Easter, which he implied was because of his Scottish ancestry. This hatred was such that he proceeded to sabotage a celebration of the holiday by rigging the various musical instruments with eggs, thus having the band unknowingly spray eggs at the audience when playing the instruments, and then framing Bart for it, which was serious enough to nearly get Bart expelled from school and worse. After he was exposed, it was implied that he lost his job as groundskeeper and spent a few years at the Penitentiary as a result (although oddly, he has his job back by the next episode).[27]

Willie's years of heavy work have given him amazing strength and a very muscular physique, which has been observed many times as he often tears his clothes off, before accomplishing hard tasks or because of outbursts of rage. For example, he rescues Bart from a marauding Alaskan timber wolf by wrestling it into submission.[28] Much like Ned Flanders, though, his physique is unremarkable when he is clothed, and seemingly morphs as soon as he is partially nude. Apparently, he has had sexual attractions to Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York (more commonly known as "Fergie"), as he had mentioned while hallucinating as an after effect of Seth and Munchie's Peyote-laced juice (which was thanks to Homer) that he waited a long time for the moment where he could embrace Fergie passionately.[29]


Willie is recognizable for his thick, angry Scottish accent and his shaggy mane of red hair and scruffy beard. Willie's fiery temper, drinking problem and dysfunctional stability and crazyness in his own life make him unfit to be around, let alone take after children and the only reason that he seems to be able to keep his job is because Skinner and Chalmers pay him relatively nothing for his groundskeeping duties.

It is implied that Willie has killed a student at least twice. When a ball was shredded underneath his tractor, he screams in horror that he ran over another child again. He claims to be haunted by the ghost of a deceased student when he confused Bart for him and after Bart left the scene, a young ghost actually did appear with a rake impaled through its chest (insinuating murder or at the very least manslaughter). Willie is homeless and lives in his utility shack on the school grounds which is heavily dilapidated (on one occasion he dreamt that he was in his shack when he was actually passed out drunk in a snowy field). His shack has been destroyed twice (both times because of Bart) when he overflowed it with creamed corn out of revenge for Willie stealing his skateboard and the second time was accidentally demolished by a frozen dodge-ball which was intended at his gym teacher. Despite its shabbiness, Willie is emotionally attached to his shack as he missed it greatly when he quit his job and became a waiter, and also was devastated after the first time Bart destroyed the shack, which partly led to him vowing revenge on Bart later on.

IMG 6092

Groundskeeper Willie

Willie has a very bizarre way of speaking. His heavy accent makes most of his sentences sound nonsensical and complete gibberish. His writing sentences are also heavily accented to match how he speaks, implying he is also illiterate. Whenever Willie insults someone he goes into a long-drafted retort that is gruffly spoken such as "you cheese-eating, surrender monkeys" to a class of French students[30] and "you nose-combing, hair-wipers" to Skinner and Chalmers. His thick accent also results in even simple terms being difficult to understand, as during Nelson's punishment for stealing various items, Willie tried to tell Nelson to activate a hose, but because of it coming out as "hoose", Nelson mistook it for "moose." It's implied that Willie's speech pattern is a result of brain damage due to a constant concussion by hitting himself on the head with a hammer to get to sleep.

Willie is a heavy drinker and is usually quite drunk on the job. In these instances he drives his tractor, swerving drunkenly and ploughing everything in his way, once crashing into the pool by accident.[31] He claims to "get so drunk I can barely see, but it helps me get through another day". Despite this, Willie seems to have a passion for his job such as keeping the lost retainers that he finds from children and turning them into a sculpture. Even after Lisa gave him a better life as a waiter and with a presumably higher pay rise, Willie still missed his old job as a groundskeeper.[32] Indeed, he often seems to pursue similar jobs when School is closed and thus his services aren't actually needed there, as implied by his acting as "Greenskeeper Willie" for the local golf course, being attached to this job to such an extent that he gets angered when he receives competition in the form of Bart to the extent of stealing the latter's pay as revenge.

Willie regularly fights animals such as an Alaskan timber wolf[33] and a donkey, with the intention of eating the latter after holding him down. However, he is quite fond of animals such as giving the timber wolf a drink from his own flask after being victorious, planning to rescue the turtles when the school fire alarm was pulled but was overpowered by them later on, reacting with joy when Santa's Little Helper noticed him through a window and giving a snake a home as a fire hose for the school when he was abandoned by Bart.

Outside of his groundskeeping tendencies, Willie seems to work for Mayor Quimby and the town in general. Presumably due to his constant manual labor Willie is in excellent physique whenever he rips off his clothes and reveals he is actually very muscular which is odd as his clothes tend to give him a pot belly.

He is implied to have an infatuation with Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, as when unknowingly consuming a drink laced with hallucinogenic drugs, he proceeded to hallucinate her presence near a tree and her beckoning him to come near her due to his "completing her", with his being all too happy to oblige, even admitting he always dreamed of this moment, also injuring himself due to scratching his face with a rake repeatedly due to mistaking it for her.[34]

Non Canon Appearances[]

Ssi 5 The contents of this article or section are considered to be non-canon and therefore may not have actually happened/existed.

Treehouse of Horror[]

Groundskeeper willie freddy

Willie as Freddy Kreuger in Treehouse of Horror VI.

Willie has a tendency to get killed in the Treehouse of Horror episodes, getting killed three times in Treehouse of Horror V (by Homer Simpson, Maggie Simpson and Principal Skinner), each time he attempts to be helpful or heroic, and each time he is felled by an axe in the back (he mutters, "Ach, I'm bad at this." after the third time). He is also killed in Treehouse of Horror VI by accidentally being burned to death (and later attempting to get revenge on the PTA's children in their nightmares as Freddy Krueger, although he somehow ends up being revived shortly after Maggie kills him in their dreams), in Treehouse of Horror XI by a dolphin, in Treehouse of Horror XVI he is strafed and killed by Burns, in Treehouse of Horror XVIII by getting his head cut off by the tractor, and in Treehouse of Horror XIX by being eaten by the Grand Pumpkin although this doesn't really kill him as the Grand Pumpkin is hollow inside. In "Treehouse of Horror XXV", he uses the Simpson children's dead bodies to make stew, and it is also implied that he killed Maggie.

The Simpsons Game[]

Willie appears as one of the contestants in the Duff Ultimate Eating Challenge in the level Around the World in 80 Bites - he blocks off the Scotland area from the other contestants until it is opened by Bart. In the ending cutscene of the level, he also ends up re-enacting the famous final words of Planet of the Apes when seeing the destroyed Statue of Liberty, causing Comic Book Guy while walking by to criticize him. He also appears in Mob Rules as one of the people Marge can use in her mob to protest the sales of the Grand Theft Scratchy videogame to minors.

Lisa Gets an A 55

Willie, as a plumber


Willie attempts to mop puke, but the puke gets away.[35]

Behind the Laughter[]


Groundskeeper Willie's first appearance was in "Principal Charming". Originally, the character was just written as an angry janitor, and the fact that he was Scottish was added during a recording session. Dan Castellaneta was assigned to do the voice. Castellaneta didn't know what voice to use and Sam Simon, who was directing at the time, told Castellaneta to use an accent. He first tried using a Spanish voice, which Simon felt was too clichéd. He then tried a "big dumb Swede", which was also rejected. For his third try, he used the voice of an angry Scotsman, which was deemed appropriate enough and was used in the episode. Originally thought by the directors to be a one-shot appearance, Willie has since become a common recurring character. Matt Groening would later reveal that the character was based on Angus Crock, a kilt-wearing chef from the sketch comedy show Second City Television, who was portrayed by Dave Thomas.


A recurring joke, which was first shown in "Radio Bart", is that Willie appears to have a pot belly, but whenever he takes off his shirt, he is quite muscular. One of Willie's trademarks is a gruffly-spoken insulting retort, which take the writers a long time to come up with, although they do not consider them that funny.

Cultural influence and legacy[]

Gr willie scot

"The most instantly recognizable Scot in the world."

Groundskeeper Willie's description of the French as "cheese-eating surrender monkeys" from the episode "'Round Springfield" has become widely used, particularly in the run-up to the war in Iraq. The New York Post used the phrase "Surrender Monkeys" as the headline for its December 7, 2006 front page, referring to the Iraq Study Group and its recommendation that U.S. soldiers be withdrawn from Iraq by early 2008. The line was "most likely" written by Ken Keeler.

The Times reported in late 2005 that "he is the most instantly recognizable Scot in the world: better known than Billy Connolly or Ewan McGregor, even Sean Connery." The same article quotes Simpsons creator Matt Groening as saying "We wanted to create a school janitor that was filled with rage, sort of our tribute to angry janitors all over the world".

In 2006, Groundskeeper Willie would be named the fourth best peripheral character in the history of the show by IGN, who said "high-points for the character were being trained to be civilized, wrestling a wolf that was let loose in the school and becoming a substitute for the French language teacher - 'Bon jourrr! You cheese-eating surrender monkeys!'" IGN would also name "My Fair Laddy", the only episode which centers around Willie, the best episode of the seventeenth season. Jim Slotek of Sun Media would call Willie the ninth best Simpsons supporting character, and also made a Top Ten quotes list, which included Willie's quote "Och, back to the loch wi' you, Nessie." from "Selma's Choice".

There have been some moments in the show where he has been known to imitate Montgomery Scott of Star Trek fame.


Willie Colouring mistake

Willie as he appears as a black guy in Stark Raving Dad.

  • In Simpsons Comics, it is implied his last name is MacMoran. However, in "My Fair Laddy", he claims he does not have a last name. In another episode, he gives his name as "Dr. William MacDougal" to a customs official at Ellis Island.
  • Willie thinks that video games are real, such as an incident in 1977 when he thought he was saving the world from a real alien invasion by playing Space Invaders. He also briefly mentions that he thinks movies are real when he groans at the nickname 'Grounds-Creepier Stupid'.
  • Willie lives in a shack behind Springfield Elementary School.
  • Willie uses Propecia, a drug for male pattern baldness, to keep his chest hairy.
  • In The Simpsons: Tapped Out, Principal Skinner reveals that Willie gets paid more than him.
  • Willie was implied to have a sociopathic hatred of the town, as when he was running for mayor during Do What You Feel Day, claimed in a stump speech that, as soon as he was made mayor, he will kill all of the citizens and then burn the entire town to the ground, and mentioning that he is fully aware that the microphone was on.[36]
  • In "Bart-Mangled Banner", Willie claims to have been deaf all along since the Boiler Explosion of 1988, saying that any time he is seen replying to someone, he is simply reading their lips. He spends the rest of the episode misunderstanding most everyone who speaks to him, despite the fact that Willie has never been shown having this problem before or since. This is disproved in "Grade School Confidential", where he says that he can hear Seymour Skinner talking through a megaphone on the school roof, despite facing away from him ("Willie hears ya. Willie don't care").
  • In the Italian dub of the show, Willie is known for speaking with a strong Sardinian accent, as well as occasionally referencing to allegedly hailing from Sardinia instead of Scotland.
  • It is generally regarded that the character's name is spelled "Willie", but his tractor has his name spelled as "Willy" on the side.
  • He framed Bart twice. The first time was when he disrupted the Medieval Festival, which Principal Skinner mistakenly blames Bart and expels him, but he was welcomed as an apology and he and Groundskeeper Willie are then suspended for blaming him.[37] The second time was when he disrupted the Easter festival and he is then fired.[38]
  • Despite being a well known character, Willie doesn't have a role in the story mode of The Simpsons: Hit & Run, although he does have a brief cameo in the ending for Level 5 where he was on the Foolish Earthlings channel where he accidentally walked on a rake and yells "I'll knock ye knockers!" before running off to attack someone. His tractor is an unlockable vehicle and can be purchased by the player in Level 4.
  • In "Stark Raving Dad", he appears black and has a white beard and white eyebrows. This might have been an animation goof.
  • In "Orange is the New Yellow", it is revealed that Willie coaches rugby.
  • He is right-handed, unlike the majority of Springfield.
  • Even though his official artwork has him in blue overalls, he often wears green ones.
  • According to the Bart Book, he collects stamps and old vinyl.


Tapped Out Unlock Willie
The full image gallery for Groundskeeper Willie may be viewed at Groundskeeper Willie/Gallery.


View Groundskeeper Willie's Quote gallery here.


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Note: Bold letters are for Willie-centered episodes or new relevant details about the character in an episode. Regular parenthesis indicate nonspeaking appearances or pictures.