Sunday, August 31, 2014

So who is Karl Wiedergott, anyway?

German-born actor Karl Wiedergott in the movie 2 Days. Inset: one of Karl's many, many Simpsons characters

Bill Clinton on The Simpsons
If you have been following the 12-day Simpsons marathon on FXX, there is one name you have undoubtedly seen in the cast credits but may not be able to immediately connect to any particular role. Born in Germany in 1969, Karl Wiedergott lent his vocal talents to a staggering 248 episodes of the extremely long-running animated series, joining the cast in 1998 and staying with the show until 2010 when he left the United States.

In addition to its six principal cast members (Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, etc.) and recurring guest stars (Kelsey Grammar, Marcia Wallace, et al.), The Simpsons employs a talented and versatile troupe of additional voice actors, nearly all of them women. Performers like Russi Taylor, Tress MacNeille, Pamela Hayden, and Maggie Roswell have been with the show for decades, voicing a slew of child and adult characters.

The odd man out here, in more ways than one, is Wiedergott. Not only is he male and German, but (unlike the women I just mentioned) he doesn't really have any recurring characters on the show. Instead, along with impersonating celebrities like Bill Clinton and John Travolta, Karl Wiedergott spent his time on The Simpsons bringing life to such parts as "Care Worker," "Angry Man," and "Boyfriend 2." Ironically, this thankless work is probably what Wiedergott is best known for, even though he has appeared in dozens of television shows and movies for nearly 30 years. His CV includes such well-known titles as Coach, Columbo, 21 Jump Street, and Star Trek: Voyager. In 2003, he wrote and acted in Two Days, an indie drama whose cast included Paul Rudd, Adam Scott, and Donal Logue. Other film credits for the actor include 18 Again! (1988) and Breakfast of Champions (1999), in which he coincidentally plays a character named Homer. So there you have it, folks. That's the scoop on Karl Wiedergott. And now you know... the rest of the story.