The Simpsons paid tribute to late voiceover artist Marcia Wallace in Sunday night's new episode which even included bringing back her iconic voice. From the start of the long-running animated series, Wallace had been providing the voice of Edna Krabappel, Bart Simpson's chainsmoking fourth-grade teacher. Once winning an Emmy for the role, Wallace remained a big part of the show until she passed away in 2013 at the age of 70.
In the newest episode of The Simpsons, titled "Dairy Queen," Bart happens to find a discarded journal that belonged to Mrs. Krabappel. As he read a few entries, viewers could hear Edna's actual voice. Simpsons producer Al Jean told Variety that this was achieved by using actual lines Wallace had previously recorded for the show that fit into the scene. The scene was cleared by the Wallace estate, which was compensated accordingly, and Wallace was also credited for the guest appearance.
"Sadly, it was [a] very surprising passing," Al Jean explained, referring to when Wallace died in 2013. "I didn't know she was that ill until very close to when it happened. So we never got the chance to give sort of a proper goodbye to her in the show, and this is a small attempt to do that. And, you know, she was so beloved by everybody that worked on The Simpsons, that we just sort of wanted to give her one last moment on the show in her memory. It's just that, it's nothing more, but, we thought she was the best."
Prior to Wallace's passing, Mrs. Krabappel had gotten married to widower Ned Flanders. After Wallace died, it was revealed on the show that Mrs. Krabappel had also passed away with a scene of Ned reminiscing about his late wife and her unique laugh. Jean also explained the decision not to acknowledge how the character died while staying paying tribute.
"I don't think that people these days want to necessarily know how a character passed away," Jean said. "But we reveal a little bit more about [Mrs. Krabappel] and then a little bit more about her life and how the character was feeling when she passed."
The Simpsons producer also confirms that this will officially be the last we see of Edna Krabappel on the series now that they've given Wallace a bit more of a proper send-off. As Jean explains, "This will be her last appearance. We just wanted to sort of send the character off properly, in a way that I think isn't trying to be exploitive."
Albert Brooks will be featured as a guest star in the next new episode of The Simpsons, set to air on Sunday, Feb. 28. With no end to the series in sight, The Simpsons is still going strong and is on track to hit its 700th episode next month. It's wonderful to see that the series doing so well after three decades, but for many fans, nothing will ever beat the original episodes which featured the voiceover work of the late, great Marcia Wallace. This news comes to us from Variety.