Hank Azaria (born April 25, 1964) is an American actor, comedian, producer, director and writer. He voices Moe Szyslak, Chief Wiggum, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, Comic Book Guy and numerous other characters on The Simpsons.

The Simpsons

He is most famous for his voice work on The Simpsons. He joined the show aged 22, having previously performed only one voice over as an animated dog in the Fox pilot Hollywood Dog. The first voice he performed was that of town bartender Moe Szyslak, redubbing Christopher Collins who had voiced the character in the original track. Having known him from the failed pilot, casting director Bonnie Pietila called Azaria and asked to audition for the voice of Moe. At the time he was doing a play, in which he performed the role of a drug dealer, basing his voice on Al Pacino in Dog Day Afternoon. He used that voice in the audition, and was told by Matt Groening and Sam Simon to make it more gravelly, with it becoming the voice of Moe. Groening and Simon thought it was perfect and took Azaria over to the Fox recording studio. Before he had even seen a script, he recorded several lines of dialogue as Moe for the episode "Some Enchanted Evening".[1][2][3] Azaria did not expect to hear from the show again but they continued to call him back, first to perform the voice of Chief Wiggum, and then Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, until eventually during the second season he was doing numerous voices. At that point he was given a contract and made a permanent member of the cast.[1] At that point he was given a contract and made a permanent member of the cast and has remained ever since. He has won three Primetime Emmy Awards for his work on the show in the category "Outstanding Voice-Over Performance".

He also voices Carl Carlson, Comic Book Guy, Lou, Dr. Nick, Snake, Professor Frink, Sea Captain, Wiseguy, Superintendent Chalmers, Cletus Spuckler, Kirk Van Houten and others.

Many of his character's voices were loosely based on other people:

  • As said, Moe is based on Al Pacino.
  • Apu is loosely based on Peter Sellers's character Hrundi V. Bakshi from the film The Party.[1]
  • Wiggum was initially based on David Brinkley but Azaria later spend the voice up to sound like Edward G. Robinson.[4]
  • Lou is based on Sylvester Stallone.[2]
  • Dr. Nick is a bad impression of Ricky Ricardo.[5]
  • Wiseguy is based on Charles Bronson.[2]
  • Snake's is based on Azaria's old college roommate.[2]
  • Comic Book Guy's voice is based on a student who lived in the room next door to Azaria at college, who went by the name "F".[2]
  • Professor Frink is based on Jerry Lewis's performance in the original The Nutty Professor.[4]
  • Sea Captain's is based on Robert Newton's portrayal of many pirates.[4]
  • Azaria based his performance for Frank Grimes on actor William H. Macy. He counts Grimes as the hardest, most emotional performance he has ever had to give in the history of The Simpsons.[6]

Other work

Azaria has had an incredibly active career outside The Simpsons during his time on the show. He has had starring or recurring guest roles on the TV shows Herman's Head, Mad About You, Friends and Huff from 2004 to 2006 as the lead character Dr. Craig "Huff" Huffstodt, as well as winning an Emmy for playing Mitch Albom in the miniseries Tuesdays with Morrie. He has appeared in numerous movies such as Quiz Show (1994), Heat (1995), The Birdcage (1996), Godzilla (1998), Mystery Men (1999), America's Sweethearts (2001), Along Came Polly (2004), Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (2010) and will appear as Gargamel in the 2011 film The Smurfs.



Also Starring


See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Azaria, Hank interview with Terry Gross. Fresh Air. National Public Radio, WHYY-FM, Philadelphia, 2004-12-06}}
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Azaria, Hank. The Simpsons The Complete Fifth Season DVD commentary for the episode "Homer's Barbershop Quartet" [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  3. Silverman, David. The Simpsons season 1 DVD commentary for the episode "Some Enchanted Evening" [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Joe Rhodes. "Flash! 24 Simpsons Stars Reveal Themselves", TV Guide,. Retrieved on 2007-08-15. 
  5. Azaria, Hank. The Simpsons The Complete Fourth Season DVD commentary for the episode "Homer's Triple Bypass" [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  6. Azaria, Hank. The Simpsons The Complete Eighth Season DVD commentary for the episode "Homer's Enemy" [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.

External links

Cast and Crew
Dan Castellaneta | Julie Kavner | Nancy Cartwright | Yeardley Smith | Hank Azaria | Harry Shearer
Also Starring
Pamela Hayden | Tress MacNeille | Maggie Roswell | Russi Taylor | Karl Wiedergott | Christopher Collins | Doris Grau | Jo Ann Harris | Marcia Mitzman Gaven
Special Guest Voices
Kelsey Grammer | Maurice LaMarche | Joe Mantegna | Marcia Wallace | Greg Berg | Albert Brooks | Phil Hartman | Jan Hooks | Jane Kaczmarek | Jon Lovitz | Frank Welker
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