Yeardley Smith is a name that has been in Hollywood since the early 1980s. However, you may walk past her and not know that she is the voice of Lisa Simpsons in the very popular animated TV show The Simpsons which has become the most successful and longest running animated TV series of all time.
Yeardley is particularly grateful for her role in Simpsons as it allows her to be popular yet live like a normal person as many people don’t seem to recognize her facially.
“it’s wonderful to be in the midst of all this hype about the show, and people enjoying the show so much, and to be totally a fly on the wall; people never recognise me solely from my voice,” she once said.
She told Guardian in 2009 that “It’s the best job ever. I have nothing but gratitude for the amount of freedom The Simpsons has brought me in my life.”
A voice artist extraordinaire, Smith earned a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance for Lisa in 1992.
Read on to discover how she journeyed to the top, how much she has made from acting as well as details about her personal life.
Yeardley Smith Bio
Smith was born as Martha Maria Yeardley Smith on July 3, 1964, in Paris, France. When she was just two years old, her family relocated from Paris to Washington DC.
Her father Joseph Smith had worked with the United Press International in Paris and upon reaching the US, he became the first official obituary editor for the Washington Post. He passed in 2006.
As a kid, Yeardley was often teased because of her distinctivevoice. “I’ve sounded pretty much the same way since I was six. Maybe [my voice is] a little deeper now,” she once stated.
She acted for the first time in the 6th grade and continued to act in a number of school plays. Despite her unusual voice, Smith never aspired to become a voice actress but wanted to be just an actress.
Smith attended drama school and after graduation became a professional actress in 1982. She joined a local theater group Arena Stage as an apprentice. After appearing with them on a number of plays in Washington, Smith moved to New York City to further her career.
In New York, she appeared in the Broadway production of The Real Thing. She made her acting debut in 1985 film “Heaven Help Us.” Smith had thought that her next film role in The Legend of Billie Jean would become her big break but it flopped.
After enduring a couple more flops which caused her to doubt her future in acting, Smith moved to Los Angeles in 1986 to better her chances. In LA, she began appearing in the theatrical productions of Living on Salvation Street for which she was paid $14 per performance.
It was on the production that she was spotted by The Simpsons producer Bonnie Pietila who needed casts for a series of animated shorts about the Simpson family on The Tracey Ullman Show. Yeardley read for the part of Bart Simpsons but she was given the role of Lisa as her voice was too high.
Apart from The Simpsons, Smith has had only a few other voice roles including in We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story (1993) and a few commercials.
Her film credits include; City Slickers (1991), Toys (1992) Just Write (1997 ) As Good as It Gets (1997), Back by Midnight (2002), The Chaperone (2011). Smith has had recurring roles in the shows “Herman’s Head” and “Dharma & Greg” and a plethora of guest roles including in Revenge.
Yeardley Smith Facts
Smith taught herself how to paint by copying other artists during the period she was filming the first season of Hermna’s Head.
She is also an author and has released a children’s book titled “I, Lorelei” (2009).
Her name is pronounced “Yard-lee”
She was the executive producer of the independent romantic comedy Waiting For Ophelia which made its world premiere at the Phoenix Film Festival.
She is one of the two Simpson voice characters who regularly voice one role. Others are said to voice as much as 10 roles.
In 2004, Smith performed a one-woman off-Broadway show titled More where she discussed her regrets about appearing as a trailer park girl in 1989 film “Ginger Ale Afternoon.” She also discussed her battle with bulimia as a teenager saying that it would make her high and give her a great sense of victory. She also discussed her lonely childhood and plastic surgeries.
She launched a Women’s Show Line Marchez Vous in 2011.
Yeardley Smith The Simpsons Salary, Net Worth
Smith’s highest paying role is that of Lisa on The Simpsons. She received a salary of $30,00 per episode from 1987 to 1998. From 1998 to 2004, it surged to $125,000 per episode and then from 2004 to 2008, it went up to $250,000 per episode. Smith earned $400,000 per episode from 2008 to 2011. However, she was forced to take a 25% pay cut after Fox threatened to cancel the series if the production cost was not dropped. She now earns $300,000 per episode.
That salary makes Smith one of the highest paid voice actors in Hollywood. Adding her Simpsons paycheck with her other endeavors puts her net worth at an estimated $65 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
Yeardley Smith Family
Yeardley Smith has once described her family as “upper crust and reserved.” Her parents were later divorced. Smith’s mother Martha Mayor was a paper conservator for the Freer and Sackler Galleries at the Smithsonian Institution.
Smith has been married and divorced twice and there has been no record of her having any children.
She first married Christopher Grove, an English-Canadian actor in 1990. The marriage lasted for just two years as she filed for divorce in 1992. She then married Daniel Erickson in 2002. They divorced 6 years later in 2008. In both cases, Smith cited irreconcilable differences.
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