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The Simpsons Could Retire Martin Prince Following Voice Actor Russi Taylor's Death

The Simpsons Could Retire Martin Prince Following Voice Actor Russi Taylor's Death

There was sad news for fans of The Simpsons this weekend, as it emerged that voiceover actor Russi Taylor - the voice of Martin Prince - had died in California, aged 75.

Taylor was best known for her work with Disney, having voiced Minnie Mouse for more than three decades, but her performances as Bart Simpson's nerdy classmate Martin - Springfield Elementary's resident teacher's pet - made her popular with fans of the show.

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Many of us will join Simpsons writer and showrunner Al Jean in expressing sorrow at the actor's passing. But for many fans, it will be hard not to wonder about her character's future - what does this mean for Martin? A quick look at the show's history just might give us a clue.

The long-running Fox cartoon has form for retiring characters, following previous deaths among the voice cast.

In 1998, comic actor Phil Hartman - recognisable to viewers as the voices of washed-up actor Troy McClure, hapless lawyer Lionel Hutz and side characters such as con artist Lyle Lanley - was shot and killed by his wife, in scenes that shocked the United States and beyond.

With Hartman a popular and committed member of the cast, who had expressed interest in a live-action movie about McClure, the show's producers opted to retire his characters - Hutz would appear in later episodes, but only in non-speaking roles.

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Phil Hartman provided the voice of Troy McClure. Credit: 20th Century Fox
Phil Hartman provided the voice of Troy McClure. Credit: 20th Century Fox

Similarly, in 2013 Marcia Wallace - the voice of Bart's jaded teacher Edna Krabappel - passed away after suffering from pneumonia and sepsis, following struggles with breast cancer, and her character was also retired.

That's not to say it's necessarily the end of the road for Martin, however.

The popular (if lesser-spotted) Lunchlady Doris character was removed from the show in the wake of actor Doris Grau's death in 1995, although several later episodes used archived voice performances recorded prior to her passing - and in 2006, the character was restored (albeit renamed 'Lunchlady Dora' in tribute to Grau) to speaking roles, newly voiced by Tress MacNeille.

So could this point to a new lease of life for Martin, further down the line? While we're on the subject, is there also a chance for any of Russi Taylor's other characters, such as the twins Sherri and Terri, or exchange student Uter Zorker? I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Russi Taylor has passed away aged 75. Credit: PA
Russi Taylor has passed away aged 75. Credit: PA

The Walt Disney Company confirmed Taylor's death in an emotional tribute on its website, explaining that she had passed away in Glendale, California, on Friday (26 July).

Bill Farmer, known as the voice of Goofy, commented: "Russi was as close as family; as wonderful, funny, and sweet as Minnie Mouse, and as talented yet humble as you would expect. I will deeply and dearly miss her."

RIP Russi Taylor.

Featured Image Credit: 20th Century Fox

Topics: Disney, TV and Film, US Entertainment

Will Fitzpatrick

Will Fitzpatrick is a Subeditor at LADbible. Will graduated from the University of Liverpool with a BA in English Language and Literature, and has previously worked as music editor at The Skinny North. He has written for a variety of publications including Clash, The Fly, The Line of Best Fit and Razorcake.

 

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