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Daniel Louis "Dan" Castellaneta was born October 29, 1957 and is an American film, theatre and television actor, comedian, voice artist and television writer. Noted for his long-running role as Homer Simpson on the animated television series The Simpsons, he also voices many other characters on The Simpsons, including Abraham "Grampa" Simpson, Barney Gumble, Krusty the Clown, Groundskeeper Willie, Mayor Quimby and Hans Moleman.
Born in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park,Illinois, Castellaneta started taking acting classes at a young age. He would listen to his father's comedy records and do impressions of the artists. After graduating from Northern Illinois University, Castellaneta joined Chicago's Second City in 1983, and performed with the troupe until 1987. He was cast in The Tracey Ullman Show, which debuted in 1987. The Tracey Ullman Show included a series of animated shorts about a dysfunctional family. Voices were needed for the shorts, so the producers decided to ask Castellaneta to voice Homer. His voice for the character started out as a loose impression of Walter Matthau, but later evolved into a more robust voice. The shorts would eventually be spun off into The Simpsons. Castellaneta has won four Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance for his work on the show as well as an Annie Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in the Field of Animation in 1993. Castellaneta has co-written four episodes of The Simpsons with his wife Deb Lacusta.
Castellaneta has also had roles in several other television programs, including the live-action sitcom Sibs and the animated series Dynamo Duck, Darkwing Duck, Back to the Future: The Animated Series, Earthworm Jim, Aladdin and Hey Arnold!. In 1999, he appeared in the Christmas special Olive, the Other Reindeer and won an Annie Award for his portrayal of the Postman. Castellaneta has also released a comedy CD, I Am Not Homer, and wrote and stars in a one man play titled Where Did Vincent van Gogh?.
Castellaneta was born in Oak Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, on October 29, 1957,the son of Louis and Elsie Castellaneta. His father was an amateur actor who worked for a printing company.He was of Italian descent. Castellaneta became adept at impressions at a young age and his mother enrolled him in an acting class when he was six years old. He would listen to his father's comedy records and do impressions of the artists.He was a "devotee" of the works of many performers, including Alan Arkin and Barbara Harris and directors Mike Nichols and Elaine May.He attended Oak Park and River Forest High School and upon graduation, started attending Northern Illinois University (NIU) in the fall of 1975.He studied art education, with the goal of becoming an art teacher.He became a student teacher and would entertain his students with his impressions.Castellaneta was also a regular participant in The Ron Petke and His Dead Uncle Show, a radio show at NIU. The show helped Castellaneta hone has skills as a voice-over actor. He recalled "We did parodies and sketches, we would double up on (characters), so you learned to switch between voices. I got my feet wet doing voiceover. The show was just barely audible, but we didn't care. It was the fact that we got a chance to do it and write our own material."He took a play-writing class and auditioned for an improvisational show. A classmate first thought Castellaneta would "fall on his face with improvisation" but soon "was churning out material faster than could make it work."
Castellaneta started acting after his graduation from Northern Illinois University in 1979.He decided that if his career went nowhere he would still have a chance to try something else.He began taking improvisation classes, where he met his future wife Deb Lacusta.Castellaneta started to work at The Second City, an improvisational theatre in Chicago, in 1983 and continued to work there until 1987.During this period, he did voice-over work with his wife for various radio stations.He auditioned for a role in The Tracey Ullman Show and his first meeting underwhelmed Tracey Ullman and the other producers. Ullman decided to fly to Chicago to watch Castellaneta perform. His performance that night was about a blind man who tries to become a comedian and Ullman later recalled that although there were flashier performances that night, Castellaneta made her cry. She was impressed and Castellaneta was hired.