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Web Catch: 'Release the hounds!' Beloved 'Simpsons' voice-over actor calls it quits

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"The Simpsons" joked about voice-over actor Harry Shearer's departure in the above clip from 1999. Now faced with that reality, it is clear that his decision to retire marks the end of an era.

"As the Simpsons continues its 27th and 28th seasons, Harry Shearer will not be within the show," show runner Al Jean told CNNMoney.

Shearer, 71, has breathed life into many of Springfield's residents, among them Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders, Smithers, Kent Brockman, the Rev. Lovejoy and Principal Skinner.

James L. Brooks, one of the show's original producers, took to Twitter shortly after the announcement.

The prolific voice actor is reportedly walking away from a $14 million deal. After 26 years with "Simpsons," it appears "other work" is at the center of his decision. Shearer tweeted a quote from Brooks' lawyer, before continuing:

Although Shearer will not continue with the show, his characters will, according to Entertainment Weekly.

“We do not plan to kill off characters like Burns and Flanders but will recast with the finest voice-over talent available,” Jean said.

Take a look back at Shearer's 2003 visit to "Inside the Actor's Studio," where he showcased his talent for 'okilys,' 'dokilys' and muscle-bound Austrian action stars.

Though the news is far from 'excellent,' Shearer's "Simpsons" voices will live on – in both our hearts and our DVD players.

For a full list of "Simpsons" characters voiced by Shearer, head over to Gizmodo.

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