Surpassing “The Flintstones” more than 13 years ago as the longest animated sitcoms and the longest running animated program, “The Simpsons” has also become a hallmark for American television. In the nearly 20 seasons, “The Simpsons” has created a few of its own hallmarks such as the couch gag, the chalkboard gag and guest stars. “Simpsons” fans have become almost cultish, and it is not surprising that some of the most notable guest stars are famous with their own cultish followings.
To be included on this list, the guest star or stars had to have been notably famous for a significant amount of time and/or be known as the best among their peers. Higher recognition was given to those celebrities who would not normally guest star vocally.
10. Dustin Hoffman
Arguably one of the best actors of his generation, Dustin Hoffman has always brought a quirk and a smile to his performances. As a Mr. Bergstrom, substitute teacher for Lisa, she adores the only adult and certainly only teacher to challenge and respect her. Hoffman’s performance, coincidentally, was credited under the pseudonym Sam Etic.
9. Aerosmith & The Who
Both of these rock ‘n’ roll bands are legendary in their own right. Both of these bands’ members played themselves as they came to Springfield. In Aerosmith’s case, they name Moe’s as their official hangout because of the Flaming Moe, which had a secret ingredient of cough syrup. And The Who were scheduled to perform in one of the two Springfields in “A Tale of Two Springfields” in which they help bring New Springfield and Olde Springfield back together by playing “Won’t be Fooled Again.”
8. George Takei & Leonard Nimoy
Mr. Sulu and Mr. Spock as they are known to their own cult followings have both been guest stars multiple times on “The Simpsons.” Leonard Nimoy has acted as a resident in “Marge vs. the Monorail” and a commentator in “The Springfield Files;” George Takei played Akira, the Japanese owner of The Happy Sumo, and Mr. Wink, a Japanese game show host. Meanwhile, many “Star Trek” fans are probably wondering why the ever funny William Shatner hasn’t made a guest appearance.
7. Elton John
Flamboyant piano man and one of the best selling artists of all times, Elton John played himself when he had to make an emergency landing because his chandelier was not working in his plane. He is one of two Englishmen and famous singers to visit Apu.
6. Stephen King & J.K. Rowling
Both Stephen King and J.K. Rowling are world-renowned authors. Though King has dabbled in acting before it was a first for Rowling. Rowling was just one of many English notables that the Simpsons meet in a vacation to London. King also played himself in the episode “Insane Clown Poppy.”
5. Michael Jackson
Jacko will forever be famous or infamous depending on the era. And his appearance on “The Simpsons” was nothing less. Like Dustin Hoffman, Michael’s appearance was under a pseudonym. Jackson played a white mental institution inmate who believed that he was Michael Jackson. An interesting sidenote: while Jackson could do his own voice, he was unable contractually to sing any of his songs on the show.
4. Bob Hope
The venerable showman Bob Hope played himself in the “Lisa the Beauty Queen” episode. As the acting Miss Little Springfield, Lisa is expected to go on a USO tour with Bob Hope, which of course, Hope is well known for.
3. James Earl Jones
Known to millions as the voice of Darth Vader from “Star Wars” or the voice of CNN, James Earl Jones has lent his voice talents to “The Simpsons” many times over the last 19 years. Perhaps as one of his funniest voice roles was as Maggie in an alternate universe during a Treehouse of Horror episode, while he has also play the narrator as well, notably reading “The Raven” on the first “Treehouse of Horror”. Jones shares the voice of Maggie with our No. two guest star.
2. Elizabeth Taylor
Elizabeth Taylor only uttered one word in her debut on “The Simpsons.” But it was a word that everyone was waiting for as we heard Maggie speak for the first time and not in an alternate universe. Of course, it’s the one word that every father including Homer wants to hear, “Daddy.” She has also made an appearance as herself.
1. Paul McCartney, George Harrison & Ringo Star
While many bands have been featured with their full cast on the show, George Harrison, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr appeared as themselves. Part of the most well-known rock band of all time, the former Beatles appeared early on in “The Simpsons” run. Paul and Linda played themselves while visiting Apu, the resident vegetarian while Ringo finally replies to Marge’s decades-old fan mail praising her painting of him. George Harrision made his appearance during the Barber Shop Quartet episode when Homer was part of the B Sharps. And who knows, had “The Simpsons” been around when John Lennon was alive, he might have been a guest star as well.
Mickey Rooney, Michelle Pfeiffer, Meryl Streep, David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Metallica, Smashing Pumpkins, Green Day, and of course, Kelsey Grammer