Oct. 29th, 1957
Oak Park, Illinois, USA
Dan Castellaneta's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Dan Castellaneta (born October 29, 1957 is an American film, theatre and television actor, comedian, voice artist, singer and television writer. Noted for his long-running role as Homer Simpson on the animated television series The Simpsons.
Castellaneta born in Oak Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, to Elsie and Louis Castellaneta. His father was an amateur actor who worked for a printing company. Castellaneta became adept at impressions at a young age and his mother enrolled him in an acting class when he was sixteen years old. He would listen to his father's comedy records and do impressions of the artists. He was a "devotee" of the works of many performers, including 'Alan Arkin' and 'Barbara Harris' and directors 'Mike Nichols' and 'Elaine May'. He attended Oak Park and River Forest High School and upon graduation, started attending Northern Illinois University (NIU) in the fall of 1975. He studied art education, with the goal of becoming an art teacher.
He became a student teacher and would entertain his students with his impressions. Castellaneta was also a regular participant in The Ron Petke and His Dead Uncle Show, a radio show at NIU. The show assisted Castellaneta hone his skills as a voice-over actor. He recalled "We did parodies and sketches, we would double up on, so you learned to switch between voices. I got my feet wet doing voiceover. The show was just barely audible, but we didn't care. It was the fact that we got a chance to do it and write our own material." He took a play-writing class and auditioned for an improvisational show. A classmate first thought Castellaneta would "fall on his face with improvisation" but soon "was churning out material faster than they could make it work".
Castellaneta started taking acting classes at a young age. He would listen to his father's comedy records and do impressions of the artists. After graduating from Northern Illinois University, Castellaneta joined Chicago's Second City in 1983, and performed with the troupe until 1987. He was cast in The Tracey Ullman Show, which debuted in 1987. The Tracey Ullman Show included a series of animated shorts about a dysfunctional family. Voices were needed for the shorts, so the producers decided to ask Castellaneta to voice Homer. His voice for the character started out as a loose impression of Walter Matthau, but later evolved into a more robust voice. The shorts would eventually be spun off into The Simpsons. Castellaneta has won four Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance for his work on the show as well as an Annie Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in the Field of Animation in 1993. Castellaneta has co-written four episodes of The Simpsons with his wife 'Deb Lacusta'.
Castellaneta has also had roles in several other television programs, including the live-action sitcom Sibs, The Adventures of Dynamo Duck, and the animated series Back to the Future: The Animated Series, Earthworm Jim, Aladdin, Hey Arnold!, and Darkwing Duck. In 1999, he appeared in the Christmas special Olive, the Other Reindeer and won an Annie Award for his portrayal of the Postman. Castellaneta has also released a comedy CD, I Am Not Homer, and wrote and starred in a one-person show titled Where Did Vincent van Gogh?
- Up until 1998, was paid $30,000 per Simpsons episode. He and the five other main Simpsons voice actors were then involved in a pay dispute in which Fox threatened to replace them with new actors and went as far as preparing for casting of new voices. However, the issue was soon resolved and from 1998 to 2004, they were given $125,000 per episode. In 2004, the voice actors intentionally skipped several table reads, demanding they be paid $360,000 per episode. The strike was resolved a month later and Castellaneta's salary was increased to $250,000 per episode. Another contract renegotiation in 2008 saw his salary rise to $400,000 per episode. He was also made a consulting producer.
- Took over the voice of the Genie from 'Robin Williams (I)' (qv) for the "Aladdin" TV show and subsequent movies. However, when Williams made peace with Disney, he took the role back from Castellaneta.
- Good friends with 'Tracey Ullman' (qv). They did a lot of comedy work together, and it was Ullman that got Dan his most famous role as Homer Simpson.
- Played 'Danny DeVito' (qv)'s client in _The War of the Roses (1989)_ (qv), and his brother on The Simpsons.
- He is the only main cast member of "The Simpsons" to have written episodes of the show.
- Explained in 2005 on Bravo channel, that his Homer Simpson voice was also partly based on his father's as well as the late Walter Matthau.
- Graduated from the class of 1975 from Oak Park River Forest High School
- At first, for the voice of Homer Simpson, Dan tried to imitate 'Walter Matthau' (qv), but he had trouble with certain emotional registers and intonations with the voice, so he slightly changed the present voice of Homer beginning at the beginning of the second season of "The Simpsons".