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Yeardley Smith: Who ever got famous doing a cartoon?

Simpsons News — Posted 07 Apr, 2004 by Scott

Yeardley Smith almost turned down the audition for a role that changed her life.It was just so hard imagining that providing a voice for an animated kid named Lisa Simpson would lead to anything.

"Who ever got famous doing a cartoon?" Smith asks the audience in her one-woman show, "More." Answer: Yeardley Smith.

"I'm the only person on 'The Simpsons' who does just one voice because, I'm told, I always sound exactly like myself," she says in "More." Lisa's voice, Smith explains, is just her own pushed up an octave. But Smith's warm, young voice fits her pixie-ish features. Her round face could belong to a very wise 12-year-old or a very energetic 60-year-old.
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Between 1991 and 1994 Smith was double-booked on Fox Thursday nights, playing the virginal Louise Fitzer on "Herman's Head" following "The Simpsons." She also had a recurring role on ABC's "Dharma & Greg" as the secretary Marlene (1997-2002). In between, she showed up on episodes of "Sports Night," "Murphy Brown" and "Empty Nest."

But despite the work and the Emmy, it never seemed quite enough.

"There's part of me that feels it wasn't even a real Emmy," Smith says dismissively over lunch at a restaurant across the street from the Union Square Theatre, where she appears through April 18.

It was just a jury-awarded Emmy for a cartoon, she explains. Voiceover Emmys are considered "creative arts Emmys," which aren't voted on by the entire Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and are handed out separately from the prime-time television gala.

So Smith received her award at a ceremony a week before the "real" Emmys, then promptly hid it in the back of her bedroom closet for nine years.

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