Nancy Cartwright

Nancy Cartwright

actress, producer, writer

Born October 25, 1957 in Dayton, Ohio, USA

For over three decades, Nancy Cartwright has given voice to a spikey-headed-10-year-old boy even though she's a grown woman; she's often been arrested for truancy and vandalism, yet she maintains a spotless criminal record; and finally, she's repeated the fourth-grade dozens of times in spite of earning her college degree. How has she managed to live this double life? Read on, man. As the voice of Bart Simpson, Nancy quite literally breathed life into one the most groundbreaking characters in entertainment history. But she is also responsible for an array of other characters on The Simpsons, making her a versatile performer who's proved invaluable to the longest-running scripted show of all time. Not that her career begins and ends in Springfield-far from it. Nancy has lent her voice to a myriad of other animated touchstones, from Kim Possible to Rugrats, as well as live-action films, video games, radio and commercials. Kettering, Ohio is the place where a young Nancy discovered her knack for voices and sound effects. In high school, she was a member of the theater department; played in the orchestra and marching band; and entered public speaking competitions. After winning the National District Tournament's "Humorous Interpretation" category-twice-the judges steered her towards cartoon voices. By 1976, before attending Ohio University on a full scholarship, Nancy was already doing professional voice work for WING radio in her hometown. It really paid off in full when a rep from Warner Bros. Records visited the station and shared a list of animation industry contacts. She zeroed in on the superstar among them: Daws Butler, an industry legend who supplied the voices of Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, Elroy Jetson, and dozens of other beloved characters Nancy grew up watching. Nancy left Ohio in 1978 and transferred to UCLA so she could be closer to her mentor and the animation industry. Each Sunday, she would catch the bus to Daws' home in Beverly Hills for lessons. They lasted all afternoon-a real dream-in-the-making. Soon Butler brought her into the fold at Hanna-Barbera, where she met front-running voice actors and directors. Within a couple months, Nancy was cast as "Gloria" of the Richie Rich cartoon series. She the girlfriend of the show's titular character-a genuine Hollywood voice-acting job. No more bus rides for our Miss Nancy-now she was ridin' in style in a '68 Opel Kadette that looked like a smashed potato and appropriately named "Spud". It floored at 40 mph, but Nancy didn't care-she had her own wheels! After that, she was on her way to becoming one of the most legendary voice actors of our generation... but she didn't know it, just yet. Nancy signed with a talent agency, completed her theater degree, and promptly landed her first feature film role, in Joe Dante's Twilight Zone: The Movie. More voice acting parts followed: the cartoon series Pound Puppies, Popeye and Son and My Little Pony, plus voice-over background work in Silverado (1985), Sixteen Candles (1984) and The Color Purple (1985), to name a few. Even minor parts, like the shoe that got dipped in acid in the hybrid live-action/animated classic Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) represented opportunities to expand her range. Meanwhile, an animator named Matt Groening was working on a series of shorts, slated to run as interstitials for The Tracey Ullman Show. His concept involved a dysfunctional family with three kids. Initially, Nancy planned to audition for the role of the classic middle child, Lisa, but felt unmoved by Groening's character description. She was drawn to the troublemaker son, Bart, and asked to audition for that role instead. The rest is history as she was cast on the spot. It was a fine addition to her résumé. Then, two years after Groening's original shorts debuted on The Tracey Ullman Show, a breakthrough: Fox greenlit the sketches as a standalone half-hour animated sitcom. The Simpsons premiered on December 17, 1989. Early episodes centered around Bart, and he proved to be the show's breakout star. His slacker antics and catchphrases begged to be quoted-and licensed. Less than six months after the show's debut, The New York Times reported on "Bartmania," quoting exasperated retailers who couldn't get enough merchandise to meet demand. Bart-and, by proxy, Nancy-had officially been catapulted into the zeitgeist. Cartwright is also the unique voice behind several other Simpsons' characters, including Ralph Wiggum, Nelson Muntz, Todd Flanders, Kearney, Database and Maggie. In keeping with her history of playing popular characters on such animated series as Snorks; Animaniacs; and Pinky and The Brain, Nancy also became a hit with the millennials as the voice of Chuckie in Rugrats and Rufus-the naked mole rat-in Kim Possible. In the middle of all this animation, Nancy had immersed herself in a scene study class for theatrical/film productions. Her curiosity and drive to create memorable characters led her on an adventure to Italy to find legendary Italian director, Federico Fellini. His "La Strada" intrigued our young actress so much that upon her return, she developed her journey as a one-woman show, garnering a DramaLogue Award in 1996. Fast-forward to 2017 when In Search of Fellini, the film, went on to achieve official selections with 9 film festivals. The New York Times raved that ISOF is "a charming drama about the love of movies and youthful passion." The film won Best Director, Best Actress and Best Film in the Ferrara Film Festival 2017. Some of her work on television series and movies includes Fame, Empty Nest, Cheers, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Twilight Zone-The Movie and Godzilla, as well as a lead in the TV movie Marian Rose White. In 1992, Nancy won a Prime Time Emmy® for outstanding Voice-Over performance for The Simpsons. Three years later, she coveted The Annie Award for Voice Acting in the Field of Animation also for The Simpsons. In 2004, Nancy was nominated for a Daytime Emmy for Kim Possible and again in 2020 for The Simpsons. In 2001, Nancy co-created and produced The Kelly's-one of the first critically-acclaimed digital animated series in conjunction with Turner Broadcasting and NASCAR. At a top speed of 158.2 mph, Nancy is no spectator in the world of fast cars. Emboldened to continue writing and producing, Nancy penned her first episode of The Simpsons titled Girl's In the Band. It aired in the Spring of 2019 and was one of the highest-rated episodes of the season- Ay Caramba! In 2004, Nancy's audiobook, My Life as a 10-Year-Old Boy, was nominated for the prestigious Audie Award. The release of the audiobook led to her one-woman show that premiered at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2004 to SRO crowds for the entire run of the production. The new-and-improved edition of her audiobook, I'm Still a 10-Year-Old Boy will be available late 2021. In 2020 Nancy co-created a new production company in addition to Spotted Cow Entertainment. She called the new venture CRE84U, a production company dedicated to producing international content for television with long-time partner, Monica Gil-Rodriguez, and partners Carolina and Jaime Aymerich. Always with the sincere compassion to give back, Nancy has been the honorary mayor of her community for the past 16 years. She is the recipient of the Fernando Award presented to those whose community support is above and beyond. She has supported many non-profit organizations that focus on helping children, such as Famous Fone Friends, The Way to Happiness Foundation and The Citizens Commission on Human Rights. She also received the prestigious Icon Award from The Make-A-Wish Foundation. An accomplished self-taught fine artist, Cartwright has created dozens of reverse-style paintings on Lucite. Although this reverse-painting technique dates back thousands of years, it was the The Simpsons that motivated her to duplicate this animation technique that was popularized in 1937 with Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Her work has been featured on over 300 billboards, bus wraps and bus shelter posters with the purpose of introducing parents and caretakers to the Know More About Drugs Alliance. Since its inception in 2004, Nancy has been the proud co-founder of Happy House, a non-profit organization dedicated to "Building Better Families". Through extensive outreach and the help of countless volunteers, Happy House is implementing a character-building program, How to Make Good Choices, to hundreds of children across California. Nancy is equally committed to helping those in her hometown where she has established a perpetual scholarship for forensic students to attend Ohio University. In June 2012, Ohio University bestowed upon Nancy an Honorary Degree Citation - Doctor of Communication in recognition of achievement in her field as an actress, as a philanthropist and through her scholarship endowment established at Ohio University. In 2020, Nancy became the first ever voice-actor to be featured on MasterClass-- a platform where members learn from the best across multiple disciplines. Joining the likes of "Masters" James Cameron, Ron Howard and Annie Leibovitz, Nancy's class introduces aspiring voice-actors to the voice-over medium. Clearly, Nancy Cartwright's journey is inimitable. She's at once a cultural icon and a face in the crowd, a megastar who walks the streets without being mobbed...an anonymous celebrity. Not too shabby for a spunky kid from Kettering, Ohio. So, don't have a cow, man!

Filmography

Connections

  • Dan Castellaneta

    Dan Castellaneta

  • James L. Brooks

    James L. Brooks

  • Julie Kavner

    Julie Kavner

  • Sam Simon

    Sam Simon

  • Matt Groening

    Matt Groening

Genres

  • Thriller
  • Action & Adventure
  • Comedy
  • Horror
  • Music Videos & Concerts
  • Fantasy
  • Drama
  • Romance
  • Children & Family
  • Musical