Fox Broadcasting Company animated family sitcom, The Simpsons have been on our screen for longer than we could remember. Coupled with the fact that our children grew up with the show, the actors that lent their voices to those ageless characters are endeared to our heart. Dan Castellaneta is one of them; he is the voice of Homer J. Simpson, one of the most famous animated characters on TV.
In addition to Homer, Dan voices Krusty the Clown, Sideshow Mel, Abraham “Grampa” Simpson, Itchy, and Barney Gumble on the show. He is also an actor, comedian and screenwriter with a number of notable works including Futurama, Sibs, Darkwing Duck, Hey Arnold!, The Adventures of Dynamo Duck, Back to the Future: The Animated Series, Aladdin, Taz-Mania credited to him.
Moreover, he has won several awards for lending his voice to Homer J. Simpson including four Primetime Emmy Awards. He released a comedy album dubbed I Am Not Homer, and wrote and starred in a one-person show titled Where Did Vincent van Gogh? Here are other interesting facts to know about him.
Dan Castellaneta’s Biography
Of Italian descent, Daniel Louis Castellaneta was born on the 29th day of October 1957 in Chicago, Illinois but was raised in Oak Park, Illinois. From a tender age, Dan started showing the potentials of an impressionist, prompting his mother to enrol him in an acting class at the age of 16. He graduated from Oak Park and River Forest High School and moved to Northern Illinois University in 1975 where he studied Art Education with the intention of becoming an art teacher.
As a student teacher, he entertained his students with his impressions. He was also a regular participant in a radio show where they usually did parodies and sketches and as such, switched between voices. These undertakings helped him to hone his voiceover skills. Moreover, he took a play-writing class.
Following his graduation in 1979, he decided to try acting and began taking improv classes. Subsequently, he worked at Chicago’s improvisational theatre, The Second City from 1983 until 1987 during which he did voice-over work for various radio stations. He was then hired for a role in The Tracey Ullman Show. The show mixes sketch comedy with musical numbers and dance routines along with animated shorts about a dysfunctional family. Apart from garnering its own success, its series of shorts featuring the Simpson family was adapted into what would become the longest-running scripted primetime TV series in the US, The Simpsons.
Dan Castellaneta provided the voice for Homer Simpson while Julie Kanver voiced Marge Simpson which they were already doing on the parent show. That singular role made Dan famous. Ironically, Homer’s fame overshadowed Castellaneta that he is rarely recognized in public. Besides Homer, he also lends his voice to a number of other characters for the show including Grampa Simpson, Barney Gumble, Krusty the Clown, Sideshow Mel, Hans Moleman, Groundskeeper Willie, Mayor Quimby, Itchy, Kodos, the Squeaky Voiced Teen and Gil Gunderson. As a true mark of his talent and ingenuity, Castellaneta improvised unique voices for each of his characters as well as provided accents for those that need it.
He has won numerous awards for voicing Homer including four Primetime Emmy Awards, a special Annie Award in 1993 dubbed Outstanding Individual Achievement in the Field of Animation, a Young Artist Award for Most Popular Mom & Dad in a TV Series in 2004 along with Kavner. Castellaneta has written a few episodes for the show along with his wife and is also credited as a consulting producer
The Simpsons has been on air for 30 years with over 650 episodes and despite Homer being a major character, Dan Castellaneta still finds time to do other things. He has had roles in several other television series as well as lent his voice to numerous cartoons and advertisements. Some of his notable works include Futurama, SIbs, Darkwing Duck, The Adventures of Dynamo Duck, The Beast with a Billion Backs, Aladdin, Back to the Future: The Animated Series, Taz-Mania, Hey Arnold!, The Simpsons Movie, The Cat in the Hat, The Pursuit of Happyness, Christmas special Olive, the Other Reindeer among others.
Additionally, he has released two CDs, a music CD, Two Lips (2000) and a comedy CD titled I Am Not Homer (2002). Castellaneta also combines theatrical works to his TV and film gigs.
His Net Worth
Dan Castellaneta has been the acting voice for Homer Simpsons since the beginning of The Simpsons in 1989. In the early years of the show, he, alongside other major cast was paid $30,000 per episode but the amount has seen a major appreciation over the years with as much as $400k paid at one time. From 2011, he now earns about $300,000 per episode and his net worth is estimated to be $60 million.
Family, Parents, Spouse
Dan was born to Louis, an amateur actor who also worked for a printing company and Elsie Castellaneta (née Lagorio). He has two younger sisters named Paula and Gina. His mother died in January 2008 at the age of 81 and his father followed six years later in August, aged 99.
Castellaneta met his future wife, Deb Lacusta in one of his improvisational classes and they tied the knot in 1987. Lacusta is an actress and a television writer. The couple has collaborated on a number of projects including voice-over works, wrote several episodes of The Simpsons, performed comedy skits, as well as co-starred in shows. They live in Los Angeles.