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Matt Groening

Neighborhood War Erupts

Over Pine Tree Massacre

9/23/2015 12:40 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

0922-trees-tmz-01Matt Groening is literally living a Joni Mitchell song ... his neighbor paved paradise and put up a parking lot, and he's pissed.

Matt is enraged one of his neighbors is taking an ax to four 100-year-old pine trees, which he says are on protected property.  

The "Simpsons" co-creator says the neighbor wants to pave over the area to accommodate her cars.

The Santa Monica neighborhood is up in arms. Bobby Shriver, the former Santa Monica mayor and member of the Kennedy clan, along with his wife, Malissa, tried to stop the chainsaw massacre by protesting to the City of L.A. Turns out, the trees are on the border between Santa Monica and L.A. and the stumps rest on the L.A. side.

One neighbor, Jerry Rubin, actually chained himself to one of the trees in protest.

Matt and company won a temporary reprieve ... the City of L.A. ordered the tree hackers to stop until they determine conclusively whether she has a right to chop the pines down.   

As they say ... you don't know what you got till it's gone ...

'Simpsons' Creator Matt Groening

Sued By Hispanic Nanny

Claims Discrimination

6/30/2015 1:50 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

0630_matt-groening_tmz"The Simpsons" creator Matt Groening has been sued by his former nanny, who claims he has it out for Hispanics, even though Matt's wife is Hispanic.

Tania Cardona claims in a new lawsuit, obtained by TMZ, Matt and his wife treated employees "like animals," claiming she was not only worked to the bone, but harassed over her heritage.

Cardona says Matt would say his son was not going to speak "good English" because there were so many Hispanics in the house. The lawsuit says Groening would complain, "his house looked like a Hispanic community and he 'hated' it."

Cardona grouses she and the other Hispanic employees had to eat at a small table next to a trash can in the laundry room.

It's a puzzling lawsuit, because Matt is married to Agustina Maria Picasso Achaval, who is from Argentina.

Cardona claims she was wrongfully terminated and wants millions in damages.

We called Groening for comment. The lawyer said they hadn't seen the lawsuit and therefore had no comment.

'The Simpsons'

It's NOT Over

Producers and Harry Want to Make it Work

5/14/2015 10:10 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF


Harry Shearer could come back to "The Simpsons" after all, because we've learned both sides want to make it happen .... but there's still a major hurdle.

Harry said Wednesday night his negotiations with producers had broken down and he would not come back to the show. Producers said they were moving on and finding new people to do Harry's voices.

But James L. Brooks, the exec producer of the show, just tweeted, "Hey, we tried. We're still trying. Harry, no kidding, let's talk."

And we just spoke with sources directly connected with Harry who told us, "It was difficult for him not to come back. He loves all 23 of his characters. If there's a way to work this out and continue to have a career in addition to 'The Simpsons' he would be delighted."

So the door is open, but our sources say Harry and producers are at loggerheads over Harry's ability to do other projects. Our sources say Harry has more restrictive language in his contract than other cast members. They say producers bent a little, allowing him to do other things if they agreed.

We're told Harry and his lawyer, Larry Stein, would not agree to giving producers the right to veto Harry's other projects.

But at least the door is still open.

'The Simpsons'

Have a Cow, Bart ...

Harry Shearer Is OFF THE SHOW!

5/13/2015 10:19 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

0508-harry-shearer-mr-burns-TMZ-FOX-01Every 'Simpsons' fan's worst nightmare just came true -- Harry Shearer ... one of the key voices on the show is leaving after contract talks broke down.

According to Shearer ... co-creator and executive producer James L. Brooks' attorney broke the news that Harry would "not be part of" the show going forward.

TMZ broke the story ... Shearer was the last cast member left to sign on for the 2 year extension FOX recently announced. Our sources said the 71-year-old actor had issues with the back end and merchandising parts of his contract, and refused to sign.

On Twitter Wednesday night, Shearer said the breakdown was because he wanted "freedom to do other work."

It's a major blow to the longest running scripted show on TV. Shearer voiced neighbor Ned Flanders, Principal Skinner, Mr. Burns, Smithers, Kent Brockman ... and a ton of minor characters. In all, he's given voice to well over 100 citizens in Springfield.

'Simpsons' Creator Matt Groening

Says Everyone's Signed On

But We Know Differently

5/10/2015 10:02 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

"Simpsons" creator Matt Groening took issue with our story that there's a major holdout in the cast, but we know it's true, and now we know who.

Groening told our photog Saturday night all the actors have signed on for the next 2 seasons.  Fox has already announced the renewal.

But sources intimately familiar with the production tell us Harry Shearer, who voices multiple characters on the show, has not re-resigned.  As we reported, all members of the cast make the same amount per episode, but we're told Shearer still has issues with back-end and merchandising and Fox does not have his signature.

Shearer's people will neither confirm nor deny our story, but we know it's true.

The Simpsons

Renewal Snag

Key Actor Holding Out ...

5/8/2015 2:53 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF


Fox has announced "The Simpsons" -- which has run 26 seasons -- is coming back for another 2, but they may have jumped the gun because we've learned one of the key players has not signed on.

Sources close to the production tell TMZ the holdout has not reached an agreement. The sources would not say which actor is holding out, but we're told it's a key person in the mix.

We're also told the people who have signed on have all agreed to the same amount per episode and that is not an issue with the holdout. The sticking points in the past have had to do with back-end profits and merchandising.

We contacted Fox. The network had no comment.

Pam Anderson

Sam Simon's $800K Gift Enrages Family

She's Banned from Private Funeral

3/14/2015 1:16 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

0314-pam-anderson-sam-simonPamela Anderson got a lavish gift from Sam Simon just weeks before he died, and ironically the show of affection is the very thing that has made her persona non grata at his private funeral.

Pam and Sam have been tight for years.  We're told a couple of weeks before the co-creator of "The Simpsons" succumbed to Colon Cancer, he gave her a ring worth around $800,000.

Sources who were close to Sam tell us his family was infuriated and felt Pam took advantage of a weak man and should never have accepted the gift.  

We're told they have specifically decided to exclude her from Tuesday's private service. 

We tried reaching Pam for comment.  So far no word back.

Sam Simon

Beloved Dog Coping with Death

3/12/2015 1:00 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

0311_sam_and_culumbo_twitterSam Simon's cherished 3-year-old dog is heartsick over his owner's death, but there's already a new owner who is doing everything he can to ease the blow.

Tyson Kilmer, one of Sam's close friends who is also a dog trainer, tells us shortly after Sam was diagnosed, he called with a request -- love and cherish his Italian mastiff after he died.

Tyson gladly obliged, especially because of his history with Columbo. He trained the pooch for aggression issues when he was a pup. 

Tyson had a plan he put into motion months before Sam died. Columbo spent time at Tyson's home so the permanent move wouldn't be too jarring.  

We're told Columbo is adjusting well, but misses his dad. Kilmer took one of Sam's favorite hooded sweatshirts and laid it on Columbo's bed ... which the dog snuggles up with at night.

Good news ... Columbo has a girlfriend ... a pit bull named Kasha Fierce.

The biggest adjustment for Columbo ... moving from Pacific Palisades to Sherman Oaks ... woof.



'Simpsons' Co-Creator

Dies After Long Battle With Cancer

3/9/2015 11:41 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

0309-sam-simon-getty-01Sam Simon, the co-creator of "The Simpsons" has died ... TMZ has learned.

Simon passed away Sunday at his L.A. home, following a long, difficult battle with colon cancer. Simon was diagnosed in 2012 and was very public that his disease was terminal.

We're told Simon was surrounded by his family when he died, and his dog. The dog was very special in Sam's life ... he was a big animal rights advocate.


The Sam Simon Foundation tells us, "For those of us who knew him, his voice will forever echo in our minds; his sense of humor will continue to make us laugh; and his compassion and generosity will continue to impact our lives."

Adding, "Sam, you will be missed by many, but there is a particular sadness among our clinic staff. We have been together for so long, and your absence will forever leave a void in our lives."

Hank Azaria, who voices multiple characters on the show, just tweeted, "Rest in peace and thank you for The Simpsons, Sam Simon."

Sam previously announced he would be leaving his nearly $100 million fortune to his various charities.

Simon was 59.


Matt Groening

Bart Simpson Smokes Blunts

... Here's the Proof

2/14/2015 12:15 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Matt Groening Drawing Bart SimpsonMatt Groening can draw Bart Simpson doing anything -- and he can do it in his sleep -- so if you say "make it interesting" when he's doing a custom sketch for you ... buckle up!

"The Simpsons" co-creator was doodling for a few fans at JFK this week, and one guy got way more than he expected. If you've ever wondered what a strung out, crack alley version of Bart looks like ... wonder no more.

Check out the vid to see the sketch, start to finish. Based on the fan's response ... we'd say Matt earned his 'hood pass.

'Simpsons' Exec Producer

Homer's Coma Theory is Cool ...


2/13/2015 12:18 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Homer Simpson ComaHomer Simpson has NOT been stuck in a coma since the '90s ... despite a fan theory that has thrown "The Simpsons" fans for a loop -- so says the show's executive producer.

The idea -- first posted on Reddit -- theorizes Homer's been in a coma since a 1993 episode where he was hospitalized. The fan theory is that he never woke up, and everything that's happened ever since was a dream ... but Al Jean tells us NOT TRUE.

Al explains, "It would mean back in 1993 we would presume the show was going on for years and years more and right before we left, threw this hidden monkey wrench in for all our successors," adding, "I’m afraid it goes with the 'Dead Bart' episode in the intriguing but false file.”


'Simpsons' Creator Matt Groening

Smithers Was Black By Mistake

... DOH!

11/17/2014 3:17 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
The Simpsons Mr Smithers BlackThe creator of "The Simpsons" says Smithers was color incorrect when he first appeared on the show ... black.

Waylon Smithers' black hue was simply a mistake, but producers didn't have the money to turn him to his intended yellow ... so says Matt Groening.

Groening gives an interesting explanation for the error, which was short-lived. It was corrected for Smithers' second appearance in the town of Springfield ... whatever state it's in.

Groening also tells us why all the other characters are yellow ... and it's not what you'd expect.


'The Simpsons'

Accused of Mob Hit ...

Yous Guys Stole My Identity

10/21/2014 3:00 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
1021-frank-sivero-wb-fox-01"The Simpsons" pulled off a major heist when the mafioso character Louie rolled into Springfield -- and now a "Goodfellas" star wants a cut of the action.

Frank Sivero played Frankie Carbone in the classic 1990 film ... and says "The Simpsons" created a Carbone copy of that character when Louie first appeared in an episode entitled "Bart the Murderer" on Oct. 10, 1991.

Louie, who is Fat Tony's henchman on "The Simpsons" ... is hardly a regular. According to Sivero's lawsuit against FOX, the character appeared in 15 more episodes between his debut and April 27, 2014.

In the suit, obtained by TMZ, Sivero says he lived in the same apartment complex as some of the 'Simpsons' writers back in '89 ... and they knew all about the character he "created and developed" for 'Goodfellas.'

To the naked eye ... Louie does look like a dead ringer for Frankie.

Sivero is suing for $100 million ... or a whopping $6,250,000 per episode. We've reached out to FOX for comment, but no word back yet.

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