Happy Birthday to Yeardley Smith–the Voice Behind Lisa Simpson!

David Livingston/Getty Images
David Livingston/Getty Images

When Yeardley Smith was young, other kids made fun of her for her voice. They’re probably pretty embarrassed about it now, considering she’s one of the most famous voice actresses out there. Oh, whoops, did we say voice actress? We meant voice actress, actress, writer, and painter. That’s like someone calling Brad Pitt ugly and pushing him on the playground.  Anyway, today is Yeardley Smith’s 49th birthday, so let’s celebrate her success!

Smith was born on July 3, 1964 in France, but she and her family moved to Washington, D.C. two years later. Her acting career began in 1982 — the year she graduated from drama school — and it’s all uphill from there. She started with smaller plays in the D.C. area, but she moved to New York City to perform on Broadway in 1984. Once she got into the film and television industry, she moved to Los Angeles. There, in 1987, she began her work as the voice behind Lisa Simpson on The Simpsons, despite having never thought she’d enter voice work. Originally, The Simpsons was a series of sketches on The Tracy Ullman Show, but its popularity grew to such an extent that it became its own T.V. series in 1989.

And, while Yeardley Smith has achieved amazing success in the world of voice work — she has done commercials on top of her work as Lisa Simpson — she hasn’t limited herself to it. She has recurring appearances on other television shows, such as Dharma & Greg and Dead Like Me, and she has even written her own children’s book, I, Lorelei, which came out in 2009. But now that The Simpsons is officially the longest-running sitcom in American T.V. history, Smith’s role as Lisa has become her claim to fame.

And while she may not be as recognizable as Brad Pitt when you’re walking down the street — in fact, she often talks about how people hardly even recognize her voice as that behind Lisa Simpson — her success is undeniable. We doubt she’s getting made fun of for her voice these days.