Jul. 3rd, 1964
Yeardley Smith's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Comic actress and voice specialist Yeardley Smith has made a virtue out of her odd looks, small figure and distinctive, child-like nasal tones. Lending vocal life to the animated role of Lisa Simpson - the intelligent, caring, saxophone-droning, vegetarian member of the Simpson family - has been her bread-and-butter job for over a decade and a half.
She is American but was born in Paris, France where her father served as a correspondent with UPI. By the time she was two, she and her family had moved to Washington, D.C., where she was raised. A shy, introverted child, she started her pixie-like young career as a teenager at a nearby dinner theater where she played Tinkerbell in a musical adaptation of "Peter Pan." After receiving her high school diploma she apprenticed for a time at the famed Arena Stage, then headed off to New York and bigger things.
Yeardley understudied the role of Debbie on Broadway in 'Tom Stoppard's' "The Real Thing" starring 'Jeremy Irons' and 'Glenn Close', then took over the part for eight months. Small film offers started coming her way with Heaven Help Us (1985) and The Legend of Billie Jean (1985) so in 1986 she headed West and settled.
After some work on the LA stage with "Boys and Girls/Men and Women" (1987) and "How the Other Half Loves" (1988) and a recurring role on the ground-breaking gay comedy "Brothers" (1984), Yeardley won the part of daughter Lisa Simpson. The animated character was launched on the sketch TV comedy series The Tracey Ullman Show (1987). Two years later she spun off into The Simpsons (1989) and still going strong after 15 years.
Yeardley has made the TV rounds on-camera as well with amusing guest appearances on Dharma & Greg (1997), Murphy Brown (1988), Empty Nest (1988), Mama's Family (1983), and a regular role for three seasons as Louise on Herman's Head (1991). Other film supports include roles in City Slickers (1991), Jingle All the Way (1996) and As Good as It Gets (1997).
In 2004, Yeardley performed front-and-center in her own one-woman autobiographical show entitled More in New York.
Smith married English-Canadian actor 'Christopher Grove' in 1990. They were divorced in 1992, citing irreconcilable differences. She married Daniel Erickson in 2002; the marriage lasted for six years and Smith filed for divorce on May 21, 2008, citing once again irreconcilable differences.
- Is only one of two actresses (the other being 'Marcia Wallace' (qv)) on _"The Simpsons" (1989)_ (qv) to regularly play only one character. All of the other actors play ten or more characters.
- Of the core 6 Simpsons performers, Yeardley is the youngest.
- Her name is pronounced "Yard-lee".
- Her father, J.Y. Smith, who died in 2006, was a longtime obituary writer for The Washington Post.
- Originally read for the role of Bart when auditioning for _"The Simpsons" (1989)_ (qv), but her voice was too high and sounded like a girl, so she lightened her voice up a little and auditioned and won the role of Lisa. Ironically, Nancy Cartwright originally read for Lisa, but was given the role of Bart.