FestForumsSB2018 has ended
avatar for Harry Shearer

Harry Shearer

Comedian, Musician, American Actor, Author, Director
Actor…author…director…comedian…musician…political satirist…multi-media artist…radio personality… record company owner…and one of the best “voices” in the business (just ask THE SIMPSONS), Harry Shearer is a comic personality and modern day renaissance man.

For the past three decades he has enjoyed enormous success and planted the fruits of his talents in the heads of millions worldwide thanks to his voice work for THE SIMPSONS, where he plays a stable of characters: most notably Mr. Burns, Smithers, and insufferable neighbour Ned Flanders.

Movie audiences will know Shearer best for his collaborations with Christopher Guest and friends. The most famous of these is the granddaddy of all mock-umentaries, THIS IS SPINAL TAP (with Rob Reiner and Michael McKean). The film revealed the concepts of spontaneously combusting drummers and amps that go up to eleven. Spinal Tap - the band have enjoyed worldwide success performing live and in 2007 stole the show at the LIVE EARTH concert at Wembley, London. In 2009 Harry, Christopher and Michael reunited to tour an acoustic version of Spinal Tap songs as themselves in the UNWIGGED AND UNPLUGGED tour (which is available of DVD) and returned as Derek Smalls, Nigel Tufnel and David St. Hubbins to play Glastonbury and Wembley Arena with the volume turned up to eleven. Other Guest collaborations have included, A MIGHTY WIND and FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION. In 2017 Shearer appeared in the film FATHER FIGURE, with Glenn Close, Ed Helms and Owen Wilson.

Shearer’s other film credits include REAL LIFE (co-screenwriter), THE RIGHT STUFF, PORTRAIT OF A WHITE MARRIAGE (director), THE FISHER KING, GODZILLA, THE TRUMAN SHOW, SMALL SOLDIERS and DICK. He has been a regular cast member on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE twice and, In 2001, wrote and directed his first feature film, TEDDY BEARS' PICNIC, a lightly fictionalized satire of the summer retreat of America's financial and political elite. In 2010, Shearer wrote and directed The Big Uneasy, a documentary feature about the investigations into the causes of the 2005 flooding of New Orleans. The film has been selected for numerous film festivals and has won multiple awards including The Golden Eagle Award and The Visionary Award at The DC Independent Film Festival.

Recently Shearer created a groundbreaking TV comedy drama series based on real-life recordings from President Nixon’s Oval Office. Written by and starring Shearer as Richard Nixon, NIXON’S THE ONE is made by one of the most respected and prolific UK TV production companies, Hat Trick and was broadcast to great acclaim on Sky Arts in 2013.

In 2014 he starred opposite Maureen Lipman in both the West End and on a national UK tour of Oliver Cotton’s acclaimed play DAYTONA.

Harry Shearer is also known for his bitingly satirical songs and impersonations. He was nominated for a Grammy for his CD SONGS POINTED AND POINTLESS. His album SONGS OF THE BUSHMEN (also Grammy nominated) was an incisive musical impeachment of the Bush administration with impersonations in song of the likes of Cheney, Rumsfeld and Colin Powell. In 2009 he released GREED & FEAR – a searing satirical attack on Wall Street in the wake of the world economic meltdown. In the autumn of 2012 he released CAN’T TAKE A HINT, an album of duets featuring the like of Jamie Cullum, Jane Lynch, Fountains of Wayne, Dr John, Rob Brydon and others. Shearer’s musical collaborations with his wife singer/songwriter Judith Owen led to the launch of Courgette Records (a nod to the infamous airport scene from THIS IS SPINAL TAP). Shearer and Owen have recently returned from a critically acclaimed tour of Australia to debut THIS INFERNAL RACKET, a collaborative comedy and music exploration of fame, celebrity, politics, religion and relationships.

In July 2017, at a ceremony in Nashville, Shearer was honoured by National Music Council with American Eagle Award in recognition of his contributions to American and Global Musical Culture as a Writer, Humorist, Musician, Composer, Social Commentator and tireless advocate for the rights and fair treatment of Music Creators in the United States and throughout the World.

In 2015 Shearer wrote and presented the BBC Radio 4 documentary, NEW ORLEANS – THE CRESCENT AND THE SHADOW, which was broadcast to mark the tenth anniversary of the flooding of the city that took place following Hurricane Katrina.

A child of Hollywood, Shearer made guest appearances on a variety of A-list television series while still in his teens. Credits include THE JACK BENNY PROGRAM, GENERAL ELECTRIC THEATRE and ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS. He was cast and appeared in the pilot of LEAVE IT TO BEAVER as the original Eddie Haskell. His parents, not realising that the show could be picked up were horrified when it was and removed him so he could attend school.

He attended UCLA as a political science major, where he edited and wrote for the school humor magazine. He pursued graduate work at Harvard University and served a political internship in Sacramento before turning to freelance journalism, most notably covering the Watts riots for Newsweek. In 1968, Shearer auditioned for a satirical news team at KRLA-AM called The Credibility Gap. The crew developed a fanatical following, engaging in guerrilla comedy actions like alternative live running commentaries to the annual Rose Parade in Pasadena. The classic Gap lineup including Shearer, future band mate Michael McKean, David Lander, and Richard Beebe began to play local clubs and eventually recorded a number of hilarious - and now scarce - albums, including A GREAT GIFT IDEA, THE BRONZE AGE OF RADIO and FLOATS.

Shearer collaborated with writer Tom Leopold and composer Peter Matz to create the book and lyrics for an original musical film about J.Edgar Hoover titled HERE COMES J EDGAR now in development.

A published novelist (NOT ENOUGH INDIANS), exhibited artist (TELETHESIA at the Fullerton Museum Center and WALL OF SILENCE at MOCA) and celebrated broadcaster (his satirical sandbox LE SHOW is heard weekly on stations around the world), Shearer is a multi-talented entertainer, artist and communicator. His writing has been published in, among other periodicals, the New York Times, Film Comment, and the New York Review of Books.

His good friend and colleague, Derek Smalls, just released his first solo record since the dissolution of Spinal Tap, SMALLS CHANGE (MEDITATIONS ON AGING). The record features guest performances by the cream of rock artists (Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Donald Fagen, David Crosby, Rick Wakeman among many others). The live show supporting the record LUKEWARM WATER LIVE recently had its world premiere in New Orleans, featuring the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. The third video from the record, “MRI”, will be released this July.