BIO: Yeardley Smith

By Jason Matthews

Yeardley Smith is the voice of Lisa Simpson - the wise, thoughtful, intelligent, saxophone-playing, vegetarian member of the Simpson family.

Smith was born in Paris, France, where her father was a correspondent with UPI. By the time she was two, the family moved to Washington, D.C., where she grew up.

Smith began her career when she was 14 years old, at a local dinner theater outside of Washington, D.C., where she played Tinkerbell in an unauthorized musical adaptation of Peter Pan. Upon graduating from high school, she performed in a play at New Playwright’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. earning rave reviews for her part in a new musical comedy revue that paved the way to Arena Stage, where she appeared in Tom Stoppard’s On The Razzle and Moliere’s The Imaginary Invalid.

The following year, Smith moved to New York where she understudied the role of Debbie in Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing, directed by Mike Nichols and starring Jeremy Irons and Glenn Close. She took over the role two months into the Broadway run and played the part for eight months. During that time, she also did her first two movies: Heaven Help Us and The Legend of Billie Jean.

In 1986 Smith moved to Los Angeles, “did a dreadful pilot and a good play,” and won the part of Lisa Simpson when THE SIMPSONS began on The Tracey Ullman Show.

Other television credits include guest appearances on Dharma & Greg, Murphy Brown, Empty Nest, Tales from the Dark Side, Mama’s Family, Louie and three years as “Louise Fitzer” on FOX’s Herman’s Head. Other film credits include As Good As It Gets, Jingle All The Way, City Slickers, Maximum Overdrive and Silence Like Glass.

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