RIP

Marcia Wallace, the voice of Mrs. Krabappel, died of pneumonia complications Friday night at the age of 70.

Once a student teacher in Iowa, Wallace moved to New York in 1964 and got her start in show business typing scripts. She eventually worked her way up to regular appearances on The Merv Griffin Show, which caught the attention of CBS founder Bill Paley, who personally demanded she be given a role on The Bob Newhart Show in 1972. For six seasons (and a 1994 episode of Murphy Brown), Wallace played the smart-mouthed and lovelorn secretary Carol Kester, a role that made her a star. Afterwards, she became a regular on various game shows, including Hollywood Squares. In the late 1980s she became a voice actress for cartoons including Darkwing Duck, Captain Planet, and The Simpsons. She was also a stage actress in a number of regional productions, including a starring role in An Almost Perfect Person.

Diagnosed with breast cancer in 1985, Wallace became an activist for breast cancer awareness and a motivational speaker. She lost her husband of six years, Dennis Hawley, to pancreatic cancer in 1992, leaving her to raise their adopted son alone. She wrote about her ordeals in her 2004 memoir, Don’t Look Back, We’re Not Going That Way:

Ten years ago, I was a devastated widow with a little kid, a house that was ready to be foreclosed, and a hundred thousand dollars’ worth of debts. Now all that’s paid off and my house is secure. And I’m opening up to new possibilities. Who knows what’s around the corner? I feel ready to find out. You know me, hon, I’m a scrappy gal. And I’m not looking back… ’cause I’m not going that way.

For 25 seasons, Marcia Wallace played Edna Krabappel, Bart Simpson’s acerbic chain-smoking fourth grade teacher. Openly disdainful of her students, Krabappel was a exquisite personification of an uncaring public school system, and her caustic “ha!” became a trademark. She dated Principal Skinner a while, and in recent seasons married Ned Flanders. Wallace won an Emmy in 1992 for her performance in the episode “Bart the Lover.”

Technically a recurring guest star, Wallace is the third cast member of the The Simpsons to pass away, following Doris Grau (Lunchlady Doris) in 1995 and Phil Hartman (Lionel Hutz, Troy McClure) in 1998. As with Hartman’s characters, Mrs. Krabappel’s “irreplaceable character” will be retired, according to showrunner Al Jean:

Before her death Wallace “recorded several lines which will appear in upcoming shows,” Jean said. “But I don’t intend to have anyone else play Mrs. Krabappel. I think Bart will get a new teacher and Ned Flanders will be a widower again.”

Simpsons staffers have been expressing their sympathies. Jean told the Los Angeles Times that she was “sweet, funny, not at all pretentious […] and just a wonderful person to be around.” Co-star Yeardley Smith tweeted “Heaven is now a much funnier place b/c of you, Marcia.” Director David Silverman drew a tribute sketch.

Wallace has a small role in the upcoming film Muffin Top: A Love Story, scheduled for release next year.

[Deadline, TMZ, MarciaWallace.com, Entertainment Weekly, Los Angeles Times]

WEB-WATCH

WTSOThe internet’s most notorious site for illegally watching The Simpsons online, WatchTheSimpsonsOnline, has unexpectedly shut down after at least four years of operation.

Here’s an outdated Wikisimpsons article about the site. Currently, visitors are greeted with this vague goodbye message:

Hello, The website you’re trying to reach has been permenantly shut down.

If you wish to watch new episodes of the simpsons online please visit hulu.com or fox.com.

Thanks for your understanding.

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SPRINGFIELD SHOPPER

simpsons x hello kittyIn news sure to excite lovers of brands, The Simpsons Brand Entertainment Franchise is joining forces with Sanrio’s Hello Kitty, a Japanese anime cat who exists mostly as merchandise, which seems fitting. As the press release states, this HISTORIC collaboration is to “celebrate” two meaningless milestones:

Announced today, the two iconic pop culture brands are partnering to introduce a product line in 2014 in celebration of two milestone anniversaries: the 40th Anniversary of Hello Kitty and 25th Anniversary of THE SIMPSONS.

As a reminder, The Simpsons once insinuated Hello Kitty products were made from actual cats.

Apparently Sanrio will be making “supercute” versions of the Simpsons that will delight “fans of every age” to be sold alongside its other flagship characters Hello Kitty, Dear Daniel, Badtz-Maru, Chococat, and Mutated Panda.

Frankly, I’m disappointed The Simpsons didn’t go with Lisa Frank. Maybe for the 30th anniversary?

[Fort Mill Times]

NEWS BRIEFS

police dog

  • The sleuths at Bleeding Cool, hot off the heels of their Bapper discovery, noticed that Matt Groening recently bought the domain lifeinhell.tv, which could only mean one thing: Groening is moving to the islands of Tuvalu, which owns and operates the .tv domain. [Bleeding Cool]
  • The Awl has a good piece about the Simpsons-themed area at Universal Orlando (does it have a name?) and the “Experience Economy” that reflects my ambivalence to the whole thing. [The Awl]
  • Nick Offerman, who plays Ron Swanson in Parks & Recreation, casually mentioned that he recorded a part for The Simpsons, a show he’d been “ape-shit” about for a couple decades. [A.V. Club]
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    COMING ATTRACTIONS, JEAN MACHINE, MY TWO CENTS

    Al JeanSimpsons executive producer Al Jean, who in the past few years has killed off Homer’s mom and the real Fat Tony for no real reason, has vowed to kill again, this time with more hype:

    “We’re working on a script where a character will pass away,” he confirmed. “I’ll give a clue: The actor who plays the character won an Emmy for playing that character. I won’t say who it is.”

    Will nothing stop this man’s insatiable bloodlust??

    Now the guessing game begins, for this episode that likely won’t air for another year! The Emmy clue doesn’t really narrow things down, because five of the six main voice actors have won Emmys for their performances. That would mean Harry Shearer’s characters are safe, but look at this scene and tell me they’re not already dead.

    The smart money is on:

    Rabbi Krustofski (Jackie Mason): Krusty’s estranged father, old, rarely appears, voiced by guest star, nowhere else to go with the character.

    Jacqueline Bouvier (Julie Kavner): Marge’s mom, old, rarely appears, difficult voice to do, death would keep viewers from noticing how Marge sounds exactly like her these days.

    Just Stamp The Ticket Guy (Hank Azaria): Perhaps the most iconic character, death would bring guaranteed ratings.

    Here’s some characters that aren’t likely to die but are being mentioned in other articles anyway:

    Princess Penelope (Anne Hathaway): Krusty’s wife. You didn’t forget Krusty was married, did you? Or that he’s still a Congressman? She’s not a particularly memorable character, so why bother killing her off?

    Sideshow Bob (Kelsey Grammer): I doubt they would kill him off without a guarantee that this is the last season (still waiting on renewal, by the way). He’s a costumed character at Universal Studios Florida and it seems weird to have him alive for The Simpsons Ride while dead in the series.

    Mrs. Krabappel (Marcia Wallace): Are they heartless enough to kill off Ned Flanders’s wife a second time? Bart would need a replacement teacher, and the show rarely (if ever) replaces a character… Gil is occasionally a lawyer for the Simpsons, but I wouldn’t say he’s a straight-up replacement for Lionel Hutz.

    Fun fact: Comic Book Resources posted about this more than a week ago, but for some reason it’s only just now trending, due to this Sun News article. It seems to use the exact same quotes, so either they sat on the story for a week or Al Jean robotically uses the exact same quotes every time he talks to the press… which is exactly the kind of thing a serial killer would do.

    [Comic Book Resources]