Harry Shearer, who has voiced more than fifty Simpsons characters since the hugely popular cartoon’s inception in 1989, has reportedly declined a million-dollar offer to continue working on the hugely popular cartoon.
On Thursday, the US actor, most famous as the abhorrent Mr Burns, shocked fans with an online statement.
A lawyer for the show’s executive producer told him “Harry will not be part of” the future of the show, Mr Shearer claimed on Twitter.
“This because I wanted what we’ve always had — the freedom to do other work,” he said.
Show creator James L Brooks confirmed that negotiations for a 27th season had broken down, but seemed to hold out hope for the actor’s return to the show.
“Hey, we tried,” Mr Brooks posted on Twitter.
“We’re still trying. Harry, no kidding, let’s talk.”
Hey, we tried. We’re still trying. Harry, no kidding, let’s talk.
— james l. brooks (@canyonjim) May 14, 2015
Show runner Al Jean also confirmed the split, but offered a slightly different explanation.
“Harry Shearer was offered the same deal the rest of the cast accepted, and passed,” Mr Jean told The New York Times.
“We do not plan to kill off characters like Burns and Flanders but will recast with the finest voiceover talent available.”
The contract offered to the actor was worth $14 million, CNN has reported.
Mr Shearer has voiced other iconic characters such as Smithers, Reverend Lovejoy, Ned Flanders and the blue mouse Itchy, and has reportedly featured in every single one of the show’s almost 600 episodes.
Production of the latest Simpsons season has reportedly begun creating the latest season of the show without him.
The cartoon will continue until at least a 28th season.