Nancy Cartwright - The Woman Who Changed T.V.

voice of Bart Simpson


Read Part One Here

By Bruce Edwin

Actor and humanitarian Nancy Cartwright grew up in Ketering, Ohio where she excelled on the speech team and on stage as a young actress. At around 20, she began working on local radio. A couple years later, she transferred to UCLA, determined to be a star. Taking the bus daily to mentor with the world's most famous voice actor of her day- Mel Blanc (Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and many more), she got better and better. She did some television, and then met Simpsons creator Matt Groening. She was later cast as the voice of what would later become the most famous modern cartoon character of all time, Bart Simpson.

THE SIMPSONS immediately struck a chord with viewers across the country over 20 years ago as it poked fun of itself and everything in its wake. With its subversive humor and delightful wit, the series has made an indelible imprint on American pop culture, and the family members have become television icons.

While there are many other voices in the Simpsons, the undisputed star of the show is Bart Simpson, whose cool, yet bratty attitude, often reflects the sentiments of children, teenagers, and adults alike. Voiced by the legendary Nancy Cartwright, she has with Bart and the shows genius creators, given pleasure and laughs to millions of fans year after year.

FOX recently renewed THE SIMPSONS, the longest-running comedy in television history, for an incredible 23rd season, bringing the series total to a hugely impressive 515 episodes.

The Hollywood Sentinel: I'm speaking here today with Emmy Award Winning actress Nancy Cartwright.

Bruce Edwin: Nancy, why do you think The Simpsons has been so successful and lasted so long?

Nancy Cartwright: I think two things; first of all, the original triumverite: Jim Brooks, Sam Simon, and Matt Groening (they three produced 443 episodes of The Simpsons from 1989 through 2009) had and still have a certain high quality vision as to how they wanted this presented to the world. Each of them had their areas of expertise: Jim with the three act sitcom format, Matt Groening with his vision on who these characters are, and Sam Simon for the intelligence and creativity he brought to the game. When you combine all that, these guys had a certain standard that they were living up to, and I don’t think that’s ever wavered, you know? I think they’ve always had that standard throughout the years, and then the second thing being the writing itself. It’s not just the writers that they’ve kept up to that standard, but it’s also the visual aspect of it--the animation. And then the attention would be on getting a group of actors together that would work as an ensemble. I'm thinking that must have been determined early on that it should be a very tight small group of actors that can do multiple voices. And I’m not the only one obviously that does that. I only do seven. The guys on the show do about twelve or fifteen voices each.

Hollywood Sentinel: Wow, I did not know that, that's incredible. Well, seven alone is impressive, but that's just really amazing.

Nancy Cartwright: It's really fun. It keeps us on our toes, that's for sure! Who am I today? Oh, I just talked to myself!

Hollywood Sentinel: (laughs)

Nancy Cartwright: to think that we actually get paid to do this!

Hollywood Sentinel: That's great, and that reminds me, I heard in one interview of you, how you stated something about money, and how if people pursuing a career in entertainment are doing it just for the money, then they are doing it for the wrong reason, and I want to discuss that a bit, because I think too many people have the wrong idea about Hollywood, and think that just anybody can do it, anybody can be an actor, or they look at a show and think, oh, I could do that, but I feel that there really is misunderstanding, and that many don't get that there is true talent behind it, and if it is for the wrong reason, like the money, then that is a problem…

Nancy Cartwright: Well that to me is a bit of a philosophy on life, is not to really do anything just for the money. Your passion, that’s everything. And speaking from the heart, as an artist, but even deeper than that, philosophically, as a spiritual being, I mean we create, that’s what we do! We create things, whether as an artist or- you could be an artist in anything that you do, whether it’s being a housewife, or working in a garden, or working on cars, even working for the government. You should be along that line of being a professional. To do something just for the money, where is the happiness in that, if there is not longevity in it? As we get older, and our responsibilities and urge to expand and get involved get bigger and you have family and friends and community...if you’re it just for the money, you’re going to end up in trouble, because it will ultimately come back and bite you, and you won’t look forward to going to work every day.

I am so grateful, and pinch myself about choices that I’ve made along the way, but one thing is that I was very true to my integrity, and if you do what it is that you love, you will never not like going to work. It’s peaches to go to work, to actually get paid to have fun, doing what it is that you love.

Continued on next page.

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