Monday, December 23, 2013

December 23: Harry Shearer of "The Simpsons" and "This is Spinal Tap" is 70-years-old today.

Harry Julius Shearer was born in Los Angeles, California. He has a child actor who has become a comedian, writer, voice artist, musician, author and radio host. He is known for his long-running role on The Simpsons, Saturday Night Live, the comedy band Spinal Tap and his radio program Le Show.

Shearer began his career as a child actor, appearing on The Jack Benny Program when Harry was 7, as well as the 1953 films Abbott and Costello Go to Mars and The Robe. In 1957, Shearer first played the role that became the Eddie Haskell character on the television series Leave It to Beaver. His parents took him off the show so he could have some semblance of a normal childhood.

From 1969 to 1976, Shearer was a member of The Credibility Gap, a radio comedy group. Afterwards, he co-wrote the film Real Life with Albert Brooks and started writing for Martin Mull's television series Fernwood 2 Night.

In August 1979, Shearer was hired as a writer and cast member on Saturday Night Live. He lasted one year, calling the experience a "living hell."

Harry co-created, co-wrote and co-starred in the 1984 film This Is Spinal Tap, a satirical rockumentary about a band called Spinal Tap which included Shearer as Derek Smalls, along with Michael McKean and Christopher Guest.  

The film became a cult hit and the band has since released several albums and played several concerts. While promoting the film, Shearer was asked to return to Saturday Night Live but only stayed for three months.

(Continued below video and Amazon portals ...)

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Unwigged and Unplugged Live Concert DVDNot Enough IndiansHarry Shearer: Now You See ItThis is Spinal Tap (Special Edition)

Since 1983, Shearer has been the host of the public radio comedy/music program Le Show on Santa Monica's NPR-affiliated radio station, KCRW. The program, a hodgepodge of satirical news commentary, music, and sketch comedy, is carried on many public radio stations throughout the United States.

Then in 1989, Shearer became a part of the cast of The Simpsons.  He provides voices for numerous characters, including Mr. Burns, Waylon Smithers, Ned Flanders, Reverend Timothy Lovejoy, Kent Brockman, Dr. Hibbert, Lenny Leonard, Principal Skinner, Otto Mann and Rainier Wolfcastle.

Shearer also directed the 2002 film Teddy Bears' Picnic and appeared in several films, including Godzilla, The Right Stuff, Portrait of a White Marriage, The Fisher King, The Truman Show, EdTV and Small Soldiers 

He has reunited with McKean and Guest in A Mighty Wind (as a member of the folk group The Folksmen,) and For Your Consideration, which also includes a well-known ensemble cast including Eugene Levy, Fred Willard and Jane Lynch now of the TV show Glee.

Harry, Guest and McKean have taken "The Folksmen" act on the road, performing songs from This is Spinal Tap and A Mighty Wind across the country.

Shearer has also written three books, Man Bites Town, It's the Stupidity, Stupid, and Not Enough Indians.

He has received several Primetime Emmy Award and Grammy Award nominations and in 2008 it was announced that Shearer would receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the radio category.

He first came to New Orleans in 1988 and has attended every edition of New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival since.


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